Barney believes he can do the ‘impossible’ at Ally Pally!

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Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld insists that he can do the ‘impossible’ and win a sixth World Championship title this year. Van Barneveld was speaking to Josh’s Dartistry after kicking off his World Championship campaign with a thumping whitewash victory over Robbie Green at the Alexandra Palace on Tuesday evening.

The legendary Dutchman averaged 98.45, landed three maximums and converted 56% of his attempts at double; including stunning finishes of 120 and 156; to cap off a thoroughly professional display which saw him lose just two legs against the former Lakeside semi-finalist.

When asked whether winning the world title this year would class as his greatest achievement, RvB admitted: “I think so. If you look at the draw you’re almost thinking: ‘This is impossible Ray; We know you’re well but this is impossible’. But I believe in it, and if you believe in it you can accomplish everything.”

“It’s one game at a time. I knew I was going to play Robbie Green. After that Alan Norris. If I win that match it’s going to be Joe Cullen or Adrian Lewis. Adrian stopped me in the semi-finals last year, so that would be a really tough game.

“It’s about taking it one game at a time. Alan Norris is a quality player and I’m really looking forward to this game because he is a hard-hitter and he is a fast thrower. I can’t see that I’ll lose this match,” Van Barneveld claimed.

Barney is appearing in his twenty-fifth World Championship this year, a tally only bettered by Phil Taylor, John Lowe & Steve Beaton. The 49-year-old from Den Haag believes that belief is the catalyst behind his longevity, and admits that the World Championship always gives him that added edge.

“Twenty-five World Championships; wow! I still keep on believing in myself. The World Championship is always extra; every other competition in the world is always special, but to perform well in the worlds is extra special.

“You want to be the best player here because this is what it’s all about. I know when I beat Michael last year, I knew he would give all of his titles back to lift this World Championship trophy. To lift this trophy as a world champion; every player wants this,” Barney insisted.

The five-time world champion has enjoyed a very consistent run of form over recent months. The Dutchman has reached the quarter-finals or better in his last three TV ranking majors for the first time since 2010 and he’s taken great encouragement from the performances he’s produced.

“I think I’ve got a good chance. Michael beat me in the Players Championship and he’s the number one in the world; Gary beat me in the Grand Slam last eight; he’s the world champion. They’re blocking me going any further, but that’s why I’m feeling confident. I’m playing well, I practiced hard for this tournament and these doubles are with me tonight. They are going in well.”

Van Barneveld also paid homage to the packed Alexandra Palace crowd who gave him raucous support throughout the evening. Barney remains one of the most popular figures within world darts but admitted that he’s honoured by the adulation he receives from English crowds.

Barney acknowledged: “Sometimes I think to myself, how hard must this be for an English player? An English player plays here and the crowd are cheering the Dutch guy on. I’m honoured; really honoured and this means a lot to me. Sometimes I had the same things in Holland where I was playing an English guy and they were supporting him, and it was hard for me as well.

“But to play here and play a guy from Liverpool, or to play a guy from England, and the crowd is behind me, wow; what can you prefer more? You’re here to win your game, but if the crowd is behind you, especially if you’re playing against an English bloke, it’s amazing,” the Dutchman added.

Van Barneveld faces former Lakeside world finalist Alan Norris in round-two on December 27th, on the day of his grandson Mason’s first birthday, and he’s relishing the prospect. “I will be there for him {Norris}, because that’s my grandson Mason’s first birthday. He brought me so much happiness last year; so much energy, and I can’t wait to play on his birthday.”

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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