World Darts Championship: Raymond van Barneveld's career ends after crushing first-round defeat

Raymond van Barneveld's hopes of a fairytale end to his professional darts career are over, after a first-round loss at the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Darts Championship.

The five-time world champion lost 3-1 to American Darin Young on day two of the 2020 championships at London's Alexandra Palace on Sunday (NZ time).

Despite continual support from the crowd chanting 'Barney Army', the Dutchman was unable to recapture the form that saw him become one of the biggest names in the sport. 

“I played really bad," an emotional Van Barneveld told Sky Sports UK. "I was surprised, nothing more.

"Darin played really good, all credit to him. 

"I lost in the first round, I will never forgive myself."

Van Barneveld had said this was his last tournament on the professional circuit, after winning his only PDC title in 2007 in an epic final against Phil Taylor, along with the four British Darts Organisation crowns he had annexed in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005.

Initially, the 52-year-old announced his retirement after a challenging Premier League in March, but changed his mind 24 hours later and agreed to play for the rest of the year.

Van Barneveld's defeat wasn't the only shock on day two, with 2018 world champion Rob Cross also exiting the tournament with a shock 3-0 defeat to Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts

Kiwi Ben Robb will make his world darts championship debut on Thursday, when he faces Dutchman Ron Mueenkamp in the first round.