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He Is Raymond van Barneveld
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Raymond van Barneveld is ready to regain the World Championship - 10 years after that pulsating final against great rival Phil Taylor.

According to the man from Den Haag, he is in his best form since that famous night on the Circus Tavern oche. The 49-year-old is fitter, healthier, and raring to take on all comers as he pursues the title which would give him greatest satisfaction.

Nothing will come easy to Barney, though, as the 12th seed opens his campaign against Robbie 'Kong' Green before a potential second-round meeting with Alan 'Chuck' Norris. And life is unlikely to get any easier thereafter with Adrian Lewis, Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and back-to-back winner Gary Anderson all in line for the five-time winner.

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A draw like that would give most players nightmares, but not Van Barneveld, who heads to north London's Alexandra Palace brimming with confidence and ideas of taking the Sid Waddell trophy back to the Netherlands.

"I'm playing really good darts and I'm feeling confident for the first time in a couple of years," Van Barneveld told Sky Sports in an exclusive interview.

"I'll never forget my first year in the PDC and then winning the World Championship was amazing, but after that, it never happened, so maybe this year.

"The draw I have is immense - it's very strong. It's going to be tough, but I have to play it one game at a time. If you look at the draw it looks almost impossible, but it's not. You can do it, but you have to play your A-game."

Barney feels he is very much back in tip-top condition, and regularly averaging over 100 during practice sessions.

"If you look at the averages, I'm playing far better than I used to do, but the standard from all the other players is a bit the same. Aside from Gary, Michael and Phil, the rest are averaging from 95 to 105 as well."

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The Van Barneveld dynasty started in 1998 when he lifted the Lakeside title for the very first time against Richie Burnett. He successfully defended his crown the next year and then sealed his third title in 2003 before collecting the last of his BDO titles two years' later against Martin 'Wolfie' Adams.

When he switched organisations, not only did the Dutch ace reach world No 2, but he walked away with the ultimate prize in the greatest final of them all - a thrilling 7-6 sudden-death leg victory over Taylor which not only stunned the world No 1, but the whole darting world.

"That win against Richie Burnett was more precious than all the other finals because that was my first title. It was very important because I used to work as a postman and my dream came true that I became a professional darts player, and since 1998 my whole life changed.

"If you look at the final of 2007, to beat the best player in the world and in an epic game like that, 3-0 down and winning 7-6, of course that's one of the very precious moments I cherish.

"I could play Phil in the quarter-finals, so that would mean a lot to me because after 10 years, time is running really fast. Maybe I've got four or five years left so it would be great to lift another trophy."

The Worlds mean so much to Van Barneveld that he has sent out a firm warning to his fellow professionals.

"The World Championship means more to me than any other competition in the calendar. Other players know what I can do and I'm warning them," he said. "I always put in something extra and if I play there I feel more confident maybe because it means so much to me.

"They all know I'm very capable of beating the best. I've done it in every championship. I've beaten Phil, Gary and Michael, so it's all about belief, and if everything fits well for me I can do a really great job. If I have my day I can beat them all."

The 'Barney Army' will be out in force at the Ally Pally with Van Barneveld a firm favourite all over the world - in his native Netherlands, he received a hero's welcome when the Premier League landed in Rotterdam, a night he will never ever forget.

"Apart from getting these world titles, that was probably the most beautiful day in my career," he added. "There were 10,000 orange people shouting my name - that was unbelievable."

Another solid performance in north London would virtually guarantee his spot in the 2017 Premier League, but Van Barneveld will want more than just a solid performance, with greater ambitions of a sixth World Championship title firmly on his mind.
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C'mon Barney! Just do it!
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I hope he does, would be awesome to see, but now I wish I never said that as I have probably jinxed him Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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I'd like Barney to have a good run.

Darts: Harrows Glen Durrant Duzza Series 2 24g, short Harrows Supergrip shafts, Harrows flights (Marathon/Retina/Optix/Rapide) 


Best 501: 13 darts (League), 14 darts (Pro Darter)

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Good luck big fella
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Tough draw really, Kong could be a tricky opener but I expect Barney to reach the quarters at least, he always seems to peak for the Worlds.
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Would love to see him take it.
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I looked to the internet to find a pro to emulate when I started playing darts a few years ago and I was lead to Phil Taylor. Trying to copy Phil was a disaster. I opted for surgery on my arm to straighten it after many years of skateboard abuse. I consider the surgery a success, but then realized I will never be able to adopt his form. 

Now, my goal is copy Barney. I LOVE his throw. I would describe it as relaxed and complete, unhurried, and consistent. Though I don't do it on purpose, I often catch myself drawing back outside of my right eye, ala Barney.

I like Barney most for his throw. He also seems like a very likable guy. I hate his walk-on song. To me, it is the peak of crap rock. But in this context I notice that it is very anthemic and the crowds all sing along, so I guess it is effective. I also admit I do not favor the orange tiger theme, but admit it is a VERY strong branding.

RVB is my favorite player. When he is at his peak he is fantastic. I'm rooting for him to win. Thanks for posting this news story.
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Thunk, thunk, thunk, walk, chalk, pull, turn, walk, turn, repeat...

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If he's going to win it it looks very much like he will have to beat all the top players in the world so it would be an unbelievable achievement and maybe his best title ever. Would be great to see him do it
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