Gary Lineker’s iconic moments: Barcelona, England and Match of the Day

A legendary striker with a ‘crisp’ finish - Lineker has provided us with a host of iconic moments both on and off the pitch.

Now a TV staple, Gary Lineker was an outstanding soccer player who left a mark wherever he has played - especially on a pitch in Italy.

The Leicester-born forward grew up playing for his local side Leicester City, before moving on to Everton, Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur.

As well as amassing a plethora of club trophies, Lineker also shone on the international stage, although him being English is enough to tell you he never won any major trophies.

With 48 goals in just 80 apperances, Lineker is England's third-highest scorer of all time, behind only Bobby Charlton and Wayne Rooney.

Following his retirement from playing, Lineker is now one of the most recognisable faces on TV thanks to a constant stream of presenting work and Walkers Crisps advertisements.

Golden boots, hat-tricks and plenty of mentions of underwear, Planet Sport review the most iconic moments of Gary Lineker's glistening career.

A local breakthrough

Hailing from Leicester, Lineker has always shown his support and admiration of Leicester City throughout and beyond his soccer career.

After leaving school with mediocre grades, Lineker's report card read that he "focused too much on football", with his teacher adding that he'd "never make a living at that"...

Immediately after finishing his education, Lineker joined his beloved Leicester City's youth system, where he spent just two years before making his breakthrough to the first team.

Starting in the old Division Two, Lineker struggled to consolidate his place in the first team until the 1981/82 season, when he managed to net 19 goals and help his side to a spot in the FA Cup semi-finals.

The following campaign proved even more productive for Lineker, scoring 26 times during Leicester's promotion season.

Following their elevation to the top flight, Lineker went from strength to strength, and was the First Division's second-highest scorer in his first season. He bettered this the following year by scoring 24 goals and earning himself the league's Golden Boot.

In his eight years at the club, Lineker made 194 appearances for the Foxes, scoring 95 times.

1986 Golden Boot

Following his breakthrough at Leicester City, Lineker transferred to reigning champions Everton for a fee of £800,000. After a successful, and goal-filled, stint in Merseyside, Lineker was called up to England for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

England entered the competition with high hopes, but struggled at the group stage, losing 1-0 to Portugal and following it with a disappointing 0-0 draw against eventual group-winners Morocco.

With just a point on the board heading into the final group game against Poland, England knew they needed a win to secure qualification.

In England's time of need, Lineker stepped up to the plate, scoring a quickfire hat-trick in the first half to hand England a 3-0 win and qualification for the knockout stage.

Lineker continued his fine form in the round-of-16 clash against Paraguay, scoring either side of half-time to help England to another 3-0 win.

In the quarter-final, England met eventual winners Argentina. Lineker scored late to give him his sixth goal of the tournament but it proved a mere consolation following Diego Maradona's second-half brace, including the infamous 'Hand of God' goal.

Despite the disappointment of elimination, Lineker didn't leave the tournament empty-handed - his six goals was the highest tally of the tournament, making him the first English player to win the World Cup Golden Boot.

A hat-trick in El Clasico

Following his Golden Boot success at the 1986 World Cup, Barcelona secured Lineker's signature for a hefty £2.8million.

The large price tag and World Cup success placed a lot of expectation on Lineker's shoulders, but he took it in his stride, scoring 21 goals in his first season in Spain.

Within that first season, Lineker showed again that he can perform on the biggest stage of them all, scoring a hat-trick at Camp Nou against fierce rivals Real Madrid.

It's fairly common to see a crafty striker with the No. 10 emblazoned on his jersey scoring for Barcelona nowadays too. Nevertheless, Lineker's hat-trick was a hugely iconic moment in his career.

Lineker's treble and his outstanding World Cup performances had firmly placed him among the world's elite.

Rubbing it in against the Irish

This one is a little more messy - and no I'm not making comparisons to Lionel this time.

After three successful years at Barcelona, Lineker moved back to England, and despite rumours of a move to Manchester United, he instead opted to ply his trade at Tottenham Hotspur.

Lineker carried straight on from where he left off, winning the First Division Golden Boot with 24 goals in his first season back.

His fine form was music to English ears - the 1990 World Cup was right around the corner, and Lineker was tipped to recreate the success of '86.

In their first group match, England faced off against rivals Republic of Ireland, and Lineker seemed to feel the pressure...

Lineker opened the scoring just nine minutes in to hand England a 1-0 half-time lead. He reappeared for the second half and quickly fell to the turf after lunging in for a tackle. The reason for his prolonged period on the ground later became apparent. He wasn't injured, he had followed through after suffering the effects of a dodgy spag bol.

Strange, comical and weirdly disturbing scenes followed as Lineker shuffled on the floor to try and hide the evidence - it turns out that's quite a difficult task when playing in the most widely broadcast soccer tournament in the world.

Looking back on the incident, Lineker managed to see the funny side of it.

"It's true; it was the opening game of the 1990 World Cup against the Republic of Ireland. You can see me rubbing the ground like a dog. It was the most horrendous experience of my life, but I tell you I never found so much space in a game than I did that night after that happened."

Japanese retirement

Following the 1990 World Cup, Lineker returned to Tottenham Hotspur. He won his first trophy in England in the shape of the 1991 FA Cup, despite having a penalty saved during the match.

Lineker's final season in English soccer was both sweet and sour for the Tottenham forward. Lineker continued his red-hot form, scoring 28 goals in 35 games and claiming yet another Golden Boot. However, mirroring a modern-day prolific striker for the north London club, he was unable to inspire them to a title push and they eventually finished a lowly 15th place.

In November 1991, Lineker accepted an offer from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, joining up with them following Tottenham's final Premier League game of the season against Manchester United.

In his two seasons in Japan, Lineker only managed 23 appearances for the side, scoring nine goals in the process.

He struggled with injuries during his spell, and despite rumours that he was to move to Middlesbrough or Southampton, Lineker instead announced his retirement in 1994, aged 34.

Spotless discipline

Despite making over 600 professional appearances in his career, Lineker never received a yellow or red card.

Rash tackles, late challenges and physical confrontations are all part of English soccer, especially in Lineker's era, but the slick forward managed to avoid any punishment.

In 1990, with a disciplinary record a lot cleaner than his shorts against the Republic of Ireland, Lineker was rewarded with the FIFA Fair Play award as recognition for his remarkable achievement.

Boxers for the Foxes

Following his retirement from playing, Lineker immediately took up a job in the media, firstly as a pundit on BBC Radio 5 Live, before taking over permanently as the host of Match of the Day.

While undertaking numerous other media jobs, Lineker has remained an ever-present host of the show and has provided us with some iconic memories.

None stick out more, though, than his promise to present the show "in his undies" if his beloved Leicester City won the league.

After Leicester's strong start to the 2015/16 season that left them on top of the Premier League, Lineker tweeted in December, jokingly stating that he would present the first show of the following season in his underwear if they went and won it.

Lineker couldn't have predicted that Claudio Ranieri's side would, against all odds, go on to win the Premier League by a 10-point margin.

However, like the good sport he is, Lineker stuck to his word and presented the opening show of the 2016/17 season in his Leicester City-branded underwear. Bravely, the host opted to don a white pair of boxers, but managed to keep them clean this time around.

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