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Raymond van Barneveld reverses decision to retire, will play to end of season

Five-time darts world champion Raymond van Barneveld has reversed his decision to immediately retire from the sport.

The Dutchman said he was quitting after he was defeated 7-1 by compatriot and friend Michael van Gerwen in Rotterdam Thursday, a day after he had been eliminated from the Premier League.

But Van Barneveld --  known as "Barney" -- now says he will finish as initially planned after the PDC World Championships at the end of 2019. 

"For months my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions," Van Barneveld, 51, said in statement. "In my private life there have been so many troubles, and as a dart player you try not to but you take all that with you on stage.

"I was humbled that I was given the chance to play in the Premier League this year and really wanted to show everybody the true Barney, but it was only glimpses that I could give.

"My personal problems got the better of me and I was always catching up to my opponents on stage. Yesterday all those emotions came together and I couldn't handle that at that moment.

"I felt ashamed on stage in front of my family, my friends and the Barney Army. I felt I let everyone down and that pain was very hard to deal with.

"In the heat of the moment I only wanted to never feel that again, but I realise that I should not speak out like that when I feel such raw emotion.

"I want to end my career at Alexandra Palace during one final World Championship.

"I hope people understand the difficult times my family and I have been going through and I need to get my head together. I will take a couple of days off for this and then try to compete as well as I can in the floor tournaments out of the spotlight in the coming weeks."

In the wake of his defeat to Van Gerwen, Van Barneveld said he was "in pain every single week" and would be "relieved" to finish in the game.

His manager moved to keep his options open in the aftermath of the announcement, suggesting he would take some time to consider his future.

Van Barneveld will go down as one of the greatest darts players of his time after becoming one of only three men to win five world titles.

His first four came with the British Darts Organisation between 1998 and 2005 before he switched codes to the Professional Darts Corporation, where his rivalry with Phil "the Power" Taylor defined the sport in the mid-2000s with as the pair enjoyed two entertaining finals in 2007 (won by Van Barneveld) and 2009 (won by Taylor).

Van Barneveld has gone on to win 29 PDC titles including the Premier League in 2014. 

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