Raymond van Barneveld was the face of Dutch darts for many years. In recent years, he pulled the cart together with Michael van Gerwen.

The current world number one definitely surpassed his illustrious countryman after winning the World Grand Prix in 2012. Van Gerwen then passed Van Barneveld on the PDC Order of Merit and since January 2014 he has held the number one position on the world ranking.

Van Barneveld states that Mighty Mike partly owes his success to the 52-year-old from The Hague, he told the Dutch edition of the Playboy. In that interview, the five-time world champion points out that he has paved the way for Van Gerwen.

“Every darter has had an idol. My idols were Bob Anderson and Eric Bristow. Michael has never had an idol. He says he didn’t start darts because of me, he thinks he started by himself. Which is possible. He just has to remember that I have paved the road for him. I’ve always had to drive on a dirt road with pits and stones”, the Dutch darts legend said.

Van Barneveld nevertheless grants his fellow countryman the success he achieved. “I heartily grant it to him, but I had never thought that someone in our country would stand up so soon and achieve the same things as me.”

“He already has more than a hundred PDC titles and he keeps on going. Of course, he can never be the first world champion again, but is that important? Feyenoord (Dutch football club) was the first to win the European Cup 1 (1970). Ajax won it four times. That is why they always talk about Ajax and never about Feyenoord.”

However, Barney is disappointed that the prize money is much higher nowadays than in the past, which means that he is not yet financially independent. ”Van Gerwen won half a million (for his last world title, ed.), I won 32,000 pounds at the time. What do you prefer? Van Gerwen is financially independent. Not me. I just have to see how that works next year. I can’t just sit back and relax.”

Kelly Deckers/PDC

Photo: Kelly Deckers/PDC

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Author: Pieter