Phil Taylor enjoys playing Raymond van Barneveld more than anybody else
Phil Taylor meets Raymond van Barneveld in what could be their final competitive fixture
By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 16/02/17 10:52am
Phil Taylor admits that the rivalry between himself and Raymond van Barneveld is "still special" ahead of their Premier League tussle in Leeds.
The great rivals will lock horns at the First Direct Arena on Thursday in what could unthinkably be their final competitive fixture as Taylor continues his countdown towards retirement at the start of next year - which would bring to an end arguably the sport's greatest-ever rivalry.
Taylor's impressive 17-4 win record against Van Barneveld in 25 Premier League contests since 2006 matches his dominant ratio against the Dutch legend throughout their illustrious careers.
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However, Van Barneveld's four Premier League wins over Taylor have all come in the past three years, while he also took victory in their most recent meeting in the World Championship quarter-finals on December 30.
"It's still special, more so than anybody else to be honest," said Taylor, the six-time Premier League champion and 16-time World Champion. "Raymond's the one I enjoy playing more than anybody - it's the old memories of when I first made my name and when he first made his.
"It's like Eric Bristow and John Lowe and their rivalry, it's a bit special to me. These nights are special - they're the games you remember."
Both stars are among five unbeaten players following the opening two league nights of the 2017 Premier League season in Newcastle and Nottingham.
"Ray's got his confidence up now, he's beaten me the last couple of times and I think he thinks he's got something over me now," said the 56-year-old.
"It will be a good game and I'll enjoy it. It will be a great crowd in Leeds too, they always give good support.
"To me Leeds is probably one of the best venues we play at. Wherever you're sat you've got a good view and it's always a good night, they're great people and it's a perfect venue for me against Barney."
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Taylor has picked up over 50 wins against Van Barneveld since their first-ever meeting back in 1990 and Leeds could be treated to another mini-classic in the long running saga of these two giants of the game.
You can see all the action from the First Direct Arena in Leeds from 7pm on Sky Sports 1 HD. Grab a NOW TV Sky Sports Day Pass and watch Premier League Darts from Leeds on Thursday night for just £6.99. No contract.
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