Gary Lineker Profile
|Born||Nov 30, 1960|
Gary Lineker is a much-loved staple of British soccer both as a player and a sports broadcaster.
Gary Lineker is a former professional footballer and current host of BBC's Match of the Day. Lineker has also been the face of Walkers crisps for more than 25 years.
During his 16-year career, he famously never received a booking as a player.
A boyhood Leicester City fan, Lineker began his career with the Foxes and is still involved with the club. After helping Leicester out of bankruptcy, he was honoured by being named vice-president.
Lineker was born in Leicester to Margaret P. (Abbs) and Barry Lineker. They gave him the middle name Winston in honour of Winston Churchill, with whom he shares a birthday.
Lineker graduated from school with four O Levels. On one of his report cards, a teacher said that he "concentrates too much on football" and that he would "never make a living at that". How wrong they were.
He began playing at Second Division Leicester City in the 1978/79 season.
A year later, he played 19 matches and scored three times in Leicester's successful promotion campaign. He only played nine times in the following season, when Leicester were relegated, but in total, he played 216 matches and scored 103 times for his hometown club.
The 1983/84 season was his first as a regular in the First Division, where he scored 22 goals, upping this to 24 in the following season as he formed an effective partnership with Alan Smith.
After an impressive 1984/85 campaign, Lineker earned a move to defending champions Everton for £800,000. In his first season with the Toffees, Lineker scored 40 goals in just 57 games. For the second season running he was top goalscorer in the First Division, with 30 of his 40 goals coming in the league, including three hat-tricks.
Lineker would spend just the one season on Merseyside as Everton were narrowly pipped to both the title and FA Cup by Liverpool. After winning the Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, he was signed by Barcelona for £2.8million.
The move presented Lineker with his first chance to play European football as English clubs were banned in the wake of the Heysel disaster. On his debut, Lineker scored twice against Racing Santander and despite going to Spain with a lot of hype, he more than lived up to expectations, scoring 21 goals in 41 games in his first season at Camp Nou.
During his time with Barcelona, he won the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. Lineker played 103 times in La Liga and became the highest scoring British player in the competition's history with 42 goals. This record has now been overtaken by Gareth Bale.
Once manager Johan Cruyff had moved Lineker to right midfield, he decided it was time to move on. In July 1989, after some interest from Manchester United, Lineker decided to sign for Tottenham Hotspur for £1.1million.
In his first season with Spurs, Lineker finished as top goalscorer in the First Division with 24 goals. It was the third time in his career that Lineker had finished a top-flight season as the most prolific goalscorer.
In the following season, Lineker finally won his first English trophy as Spurs beat Nottingham Forest in the 1991 FA Cup final. Lineker didn't score in the final as he had a goal ruled out for offside and saw his penalty saved.
However, Lineker was instrumental in his side reaching the showpiece game, scoring a brace in the semi-final win over North London rivals Arsenal.
The final season before the Premier League was introduced was the last that Lineker played in English football. He finished second top goalscorer behind Ian Wright in the 1991/92 campaign. His last goal in English football came in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United on the last day of the season.
Lineker's final stint as a professional footballer came in Japan, where he played for Nagoya Grampus Eight. The transfer fee paid to Tottenham Hotspur was £2million. He scored just nine times in 23 appearances over an injury-affected two seasons in Japan.
He announced his retirement from playing in 1994 despite reports that he would come home to England and play for either Middlesbrough or Southampton.
Gary Lineker - England legend
Lineker is one of the most prolific strikers in English soccer history, having made his debut for the national team against Scotland in 1984.
In the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, Lineker scored six times, becoming the first Englishman to win the Golden Boot at a World Cup finals. He scored the second quickest hat-trick at a World Cup against Poland and was the first English player to score a hat-trick since Geoff Hurst in the 1966 World Cup final.
In the 1990 World Cup, Lineker scored four goals as England reached the semi-finals, their best performance at a World Cup since 1966. Lineker was unwell during the tournament and infamously defecated on the pitch during the opening group game against the Republic of Ireland.
In the semi-final against West Germany, Lineker scored but the game went to a penalty shootout that the Germans won. After the game, Lineker famously said: "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and, at the end, the Germans win."
He retired from international football after Euro '92 after tallying 80 caps and 48 goals, one fewer than Sir Bobby Charlton. In the current list of England top goalscorers, he sits third behind Wayne Rooney and Charlton.
Gary Lineker's media career
After his retirement from professional football, he joined BBC Radio 5 Live as a football pundit before replacing Des Lynam as the BBC's main anchorman and host of Match of the Day. He also worked as a host for the BBC's golf coverage and Grandstand.
As well as his television career, Lineker also wrote columns for The Sunday Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday.
After leaving both of these positions, Lineker got more jobs as a host and began to fine tune his presenting skills. In 2010, he began working as an anchor for the English language football coverage on Al Jazeera Sport, which is broadcast throughout the Middle East. He left the Qatar-based network in 2012.
In 2013, he began working for NBCSN as part of their Premier League coverage.
In June 2015, Lineker was unveiled as the lead presenter of BT Sport's Champions League coverage, a post he left after the 2021 Champions League final, stating that he wants to go and watch Leicester play around Europe with his sons.
After Leicester City famously won the 2015/16 Premier League title, Lineker presented the first episode of the subsequent season's Match of the Day wearing just his boxer shorts. Believing that Leicester City wouldn't win the Premier League, in December 2015 he promised in a tweet that he would "present Match of the Day in just my undies" and he was true to his word.
Gary Lineker's personal life
In 1986, Lineker married Michelle Cockayne and the pair have four sons together - George, Harry, Tobias and Angus. In 2006, the pair divorced but they say their current situation is amicable.
In November 1991, George survived a rare form of leukaemia as a baby after being treated at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.
In 1995, Lineker was made a freeman of Leicester and is often referred to as "Leicester's favourite son".
On September 2, 2009, Linker married Danielle Bux. They subsequently won £30,000 for charity on ITV's Mr and Mrs game show. Just six years later, the pair divorced due to Lineker wanting no more children.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lineker announced he was donating £140,000 to the British Red Cross to fund greater research into the virus.
Gary Lineker's net worth
According to an article published in the Leicester Mercury, Lineker is worth £30million and annually makes £1.75million working for the BBC. He is the highest earning BBC presenter, but recently agreed to take a 23% pay cut.
His role as the face of Walkers crisps has been very profitable for Lineker as he currently earns £1.5million a year.
The arrangement with BT Sport earned Lineker around £3million a year until he left the post in 2021.