Darts star Raymond van Barneveld, 55, can’t wait to marry his fiancée, who is 18 years his junior after Paris proposed

JOY Raymond van Barneveld is in love and preparing for the ringing of wedding bells – and that’s bad news for his rivals.

Barney is back in the big time, three years after that disastrous first-round loss to American Darin Young, one of the low points of his celebrated career.

Raymond van Barneveld says he's happier than ever after his fiancée Julia Evans said'yes' to his marriage proposal in front of the Eiffel Tower

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Raymond van Barneveld says he’s happier than ever after his fiancée Julia Evans said ‘yes’ to his marriage proposal in front of the Eiffel TowerPhoto credit: Instagram @raybar180
Raymond van Barneveld hopes he's back at his best because he's so happy in his personal life

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Raymond van Barneveld hopes he’s back at his best because he’s so happy in his personal lifePhoto credit: Rex

The Dutchman – who retired from playing and then reversed those plans – snuck into the seeding pot for these worlds and plays England’s Ryan Meikle in the second round tomorrow.

In February, he got on his knees in front of the Eiffel Tower and held the hand of his London-based friend Julia Evans – 18 years his junior.

A difficult, traumatic period followed, in which he divorced his wife Silvia after more than 25 years together.

The wedding will take place in Cyprus next September and everyone in the sport knows that the 55-year-old is a dangerous player when he’s happy and the arm movement is relaxed.

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Crowd favorite Van Barneveld gushed: “Julia is the love of my life. She likes the things I like.

“Movie series, watch darts, watch movies. Sometimes I don’t even want to watch darts and she says, ‘No, no, we’ll watch it’.

“She loves soccer. She loves going out with me, restaurants, food. I really have found my soul mate.

“We do everything together. We miss each other a lot when I’m in Barnsley or not seeing for 3-4 days.

“Julia has no children, she doesn’t want children because that would have been a serious problem for me.

“My five grandchildren come by once or twice a week. When they leave, we say it was a great day, now we have time for ourselves again.

“We booked the wedding date, but then the PDC announced that there would be World Series Finals in Amsterdam at the same time!

“I’m not there. Good thing it’s not a ranking tournament!”

Van Barneveld won his fifth and final Circus Tavern World Championship when he defeated Phil Taylor in this thrilling 2007 Circus Tavern final.

Last Christmas he was defeated by Rob Cross in the second round and then spent the festive period locked in a hotel room after testing positive for Covid.

This will be his 30th appearance at the highest level – on both the BDO and PDC circuits – with the first appearance being in January 1991.

The former postman said: “I changed my darts. They have shorter tips.

“I compared it to the darts I bet against Phil Taylor in the final and they were the same length.

“I still believe I can win every tournament I play. I also think everyone knows that when Barney is in shape.

“I really believe I can win another world title. I’m thinking about it.

“But I also have to be realistic. Is it realistic for me to lift this trophy?

“I’ve been far away and I’m still fighting back but I’m still struggling with things.

“I wear contact lenses now. I used to play with glasses. But sometimes when I withdrew my hand, they touched the frames.

“I try to be as professional as possible. I eat more fruit, like a banana or an apple, and protein.

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“On stage I have these glucose pills ready when I need them – because I’m diabetic. You must prepare.

“Last year was a disaster with Covid. A lot of players understood – Michael van Gerwen, Vincent van der Voort and Dave Chisnall had to retire.”

Based in London, Julia is 18 years younger than Raymond

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Julia, who lives in London, is 18 years younger than RaymondPhoto credit: Instagram @raybar180
The darts star has described his fiancée as the

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The darts star has described his fiancée as the “love of his life”.Photo credit: Instagram @raybar180

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6949884/raymond-van-barneveld-darts-marry-fiancee-julia-engaged/ Darts star Raymond van Barneveld, 55, can’t wait to marry his fiancée, who is 18 years his junior after Paris proposed

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