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Gary Winston Lineker OBE (born 30 November 1960) is a retired Englishmarker international football striker and is currently a sports broadcaster for the BBC and Eredivisie Live. He remains England's top scorer in the World Cup finals, with 10 goals.

Lineker began his football career at Leicester City and became known as a prolific goalscorer, despite failing to score in his first ten games he finished as the First Division's joint top goalscorer in 1984-85 and earning his first England cap. He moved to Everton where he remained a clinical finisher, scoring 38 goals in 52 games. His first team honours came at Barcelona where he won the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. He returned to England in 1989, joining Tottenham Hotspur, and over three seasons he scored 67 goals in 105 games and won the FA Cup. Lineker's final club was Nagoya Grampus Eight and he retired in 1994 after two seasons at the Japanese side.

Lineker made his England debut in 1984 and over the following eight years earned 80 caps and scored 48 goals, finishing as England's all-time second highest scorer. His international goals-to-games ratio remains one of the best for the country and he is regarded as one of the all-time best English strikers. He was top scorer in the 1986 World Cup and received the Golden Shoe, the only time an Englishman has achieved this feat. He is also the only player to have won the English golden boot with 3 different clubs (Leicester City, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur). During his professional career, Lineker is noted for never having been cautioned or sent off by a referee.

After his retirement from football he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. He moved in to broadcasting, working at the BBC, firstly working as a pundit on Match of the Day before he went on to present the flagship show. Lineker also worked on other programmes at the BBC. He led a consortium that invested in his old club Leicester, saving it from bankruptcy, and was appointed honorary vice-president. Since 1994, Lineker has featured in several television commercials for Walkers Crisps. He has four sons with his ex-wife Michelle and is now married to model Danielle Lineker.

In 2009, Leicester City fans voted him as the club's greatest ever player in a poll by Sky Sports. He received 37% of votes; more than double that of his closest competitor, legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks.

Early life

Lineker's father was a market trader in Leicester and he grew up with his family in the city, playing football with his brother Wayne. Lineker first attended Linden Primary School in Evingtonmarker, and then went to the City of Leicester Boys' School (later The City of Leicester School) on Downing Drive in Evington. He joined Leicester City in 1977.

Club career

Leicester City (1977-1985)

Lineker began his career at his home town club of Leicester City when he left school in 1977. Lineker began scoring prolifically in the early 1980s, helping Leicester win promotion to the First Division in 1980 and again in 1983. During his time at Filbert Streetmarker he finished twice amongst the top flight's leading scorers and winning his first England call up. He helped Leicester win promotion to the top flight in 1983 and was the First Division's joint top goalscorer in 1984-85 (tied on 24 goals with Kerry Dixon). By this stage, however, he was attracting the attention of bigger clubs, and a move from Filbert Streetmarker was looking certain.

Everton (1985-1986)

In the 1985 close season, Lineker was sold to defending league champions Everton for £800,000, and scored 38 goals in 52 games for his new team. He was again the First Division's leading goal scorer, this time with 30 goals, and helped Everton finish second in the league. While he was at Everton, they reached the FA Cup final for the third year in a row but they lost 3-1 to Liverpool, despite Lineker giving them an early lead when he outpaced Alan Hansen to score. Liverpool (double winners) had also pipped Everton to the title by just two points.

Barcelona (1986-1989)

After a strong showing at the 1986 World Cup in Mexicomarker, Barcelona signed Lineker for £2,200,000. Barcelona were being managed by former QPR boss Terry Venables, who had also brought in Manchester United and Wales striker Mark Hughes.

His Golden Shoe-winning performance at the finals led to much anticipation of success at the Nou Campmarker, and he didn't disappoint, scoring 21 goals in 41 games during his first season, including a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over arch rivals Real Madrid. Barcelona went on to win the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. However, Barcelona coach Johan Cruyff decided to play Lineker on the right of the midfield and he eventually lost his place in the first team.

Tottenham Hotspur (1989-1992)

Alex Ferguson of Manchester United attempted to sign Lineker to partner his ex-Barcelona team-mate Mark Hughes in attack, but Lineker spurned the Manchester club. Instead, he signed with Tottenham Hotspur in July 1989. Over three seasons, he scored 67 goals in 105 games and winning the FA Cup at White Hart Lanemarker. He finished as top scorer in the First Division in the 1989–90 season, scoring 24 goals. He was in the Tottenham side that won the FA Cup in 1991 and was the top-division's second-highest goalscorer in 1991-92 with 28 goals from 35 games, behind Ian Wright, who scored 29 times in 42 games. Despite Lineker's personal performance, Tottenham finished this final pre-Premier League season in 15th place.

Nagoya Grampus Eight (1992-1994)

Lineker ended his career with an injury-plagued spell in Japan'smarker J. League with Nagoya Grampus Eight where he made 23 appearances over two seasons, scoring nine times, before announcing his retirement in the autumn of 1994.

During an illustrious career, he had been PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1986 and placed third in voting for the inaugural FIFA World Player of the Year in 1990 - the award ultimately went to Germanymarker's Lothar Matthäus. Despite his long career, Lineker was never cautioned by a referee for foul play (never once receiving a yellow or red card). As a result of this accomplishment he was honoured in 1990 with the FIFA Fair Play Award.

Club career statistics

International career

He first played for the Englandnational team against Scotlandin 1984. He played five games in the 1986 World Cup, and was top scorer of the tournament with six goals, winning the Golden Boot, making him the first and to this day only English player to have done so. He played most of the tournament wearing a lightweight cast on his forearm. He did score for England in the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina, but the game ended in defeat as Diego Maradonascored twice for the opposition (the first goal being the infamous "Hand of God" handball) and England were out of the competition. Lineker also scored a brace against Paraguay in the second round of the tournament. Lineker combined with Peter Beardsley- who also scored - to effortlessly dismantle the South American team's defence.

In 1988, Lineker played in the European Football Championship, but failed to score as England lost all three Group games. It was later established that he had been suffering from hepatitis.

In the 1990 World Cup, he scored four goals to help England reach the semi-finals after a string of draws and narrow victories. After Andreas Brehmesent England 1-0 down, he scored an equaliser after receiving a pass from Paul Parkerand faking two Germandefenders, but the West Germans triumphed in the penalty shoot-out and went on to win the trophy.

He retired from international football with 80 capsand 48 goals, one fewer goal than Bobby Charlton's England record (although Charlton took 26 more caps to score his one extra goal). In what proved to be his last England match, against Swedenat Euro 92, he was controversially substituted by England coach Graham Taylor, in favour of Arsenal striker Alan Smith, ultimately denying Lineker the chance to equal — or even better — Charlton's record of 49 goals. He had earlier missed a penaltythat would have brought him level, in a pre-tournament friendly against Brazil. He was visibly upset at the decision, not looking at Taylor as he took the bench.

He scored four goals in an England match on two occasions and is one of very few players never to have been given a yellow card or a red card in any type of game.

International goals

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.



Leicester City



Tottenham Hotspur


  • Winner 1986, 1988, 1989
  • Runner-up: 1985, 1987
1978-79 Leicester City Second Division 7 1 - - - 7 1
1979-80 19 3 1 0 - - 20 3
1980-81 First Division 9 2 1 1 - - 10 3
1981-82 Second Division 39 17 5 2 3 0 - 47 19
1982-83 40 26 1 0 2 0 - 43 26
1983-84 First Division 39 22 1 0 1 0 - 41 22
1984-85 41 24 4 3 3 2 - 48 29
1985-86 Everton First Division 41 30 6 5 5 3 - 52 38

1986-87 Barcelona La Liga 41 21 1 1 - 8 0 50 22
1987-88 36 16 5 2 - 9 2 50 20
1988-89 26 6 4 1 - 8 4 38 11

1989-90 Tottenham Hotspur First Division 38 24 1 0 6 2 - 45 26
1990-91 32 15 6 3 5 1 - 43 19
1991-92 35 28 2 0 5 5 8 2 50 35

1993 Nagoya Grampus Eight J. League 7 1 0 0 0 0 - 7 1
1994 11 3 0 0 0 0 - 11 3
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 1985-03-26 Wembley Stadium marker 2-1 Friendly match 1
2-3 1985-06-16 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseummarker 5-0 Friendly match 2
4-6 1985-10-16 Wembley Stadium marker 5-0 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification 3
7-9 1986-06-11 Estadio Tecnológicomarker, Monterreymarker 3-0 1986 FIFA World Cup 3
10-11 1986-06-18 Estadio Aztecamarker, Mexico Citymarker 3-0 1986 FIFA World Cup 2
12 1986-06-22 Estadio Aztecamarker, Mexico Citymarker 1-2 1986 FIFA World Cup 1
13-14 1986-10-15 Wembley Stadium marker 3-0 1988 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 2
15-18 1987-02-18 Santiago Bernabéu, Madridmarker 4-2 Friendly match 4
19 1987-05-19 Wembley Stadium marker 1-1 Friendly match (Rous Cup) 1
20 1987-09-09 Rheinstadionmarker, Düsseldorfmarker 1-3 Friendly match 1
21-23 1987-05-10 Wembley Stadium marker 8-0 1988 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 3
24 1988-05-25 Wembley Stadium marker 1-1 Friendly match (Rous Cup) 1
25 1988-11-22 Wembley Stadium marker 2-2 Friendly match 1
26 1988-05-28 Stade Olympique de la Pontaisemarker, Lausannemarker 1-0 Friendly match 1
27 1989-04-26 Wembley Stadium marker 5-0 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification 1
28 1989-06-03 Wembley Stadium marker 3-0 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification 1
29 1989-06-07 Parken Stadiummarker, Copenhagenmarker 1-1 Friendly match 1
30 1990-03-26 Wembley Stadium marker 1-0 Friendly match 1
31 1990-05-15 Wembley Stadium marker 1-0 Friendly match 1
32 1990-06-11 Stadio Sant'Eliamarker, Cagliarimarker 1-1 1990 FIFA World Cup 1
33-34 1990-07-01 Stadio San Paolomarker, Naplesmarker 3-2 1990 FIFA World Cup 2
35 1990-07-04 Stadio delle Alpimarker, Turinmarker 1-1 (3-4 on pens) 1990 FIFA World Cup 1
36 1990-04-02 Wembley Stadium marker 1-0 Friendly match 1
37 1990-10-17 Wembley Stadium marker 2-0 1992 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 1
38-39 1991-02-06 Wembley Stadium marker 2-0 Friendly match 2
40 1991-07-26 Wembley Stadium marker 2-2 Friendly match (England Challenge Cup) 1
41 1991-06-03 Mt Smart Stadiummarker, Aucklandmarker 1-0 Friendly match 1
42-45 1991-06-12 Stadium Merdekamarker, Kuala Lumpurmarker 4-2 Friendly match 4
46 1991-11-13 Stadion Miejskimarker, Poznańmarker 1-1 1992 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 1
47 1992-02-19 Wembley Stadium marker 2-0 Friendly match 1
48 1992-04-29 Luzhniki Stadiummarker, Moscowmarker 2-2 Friendly match 1


Media career

Following retirement from professional football, he developed a career in the media, initially on BBC Radio 5 Live and as a football pundit before replacing Des Lynam as the BBC's anchorman for football coverage, including their flagship football television programme Match of the Day, and as a team captain on the acerbic sports game show, They Think It's All Over from 1995 to 2003, where he was heavily (though affectionately) ridiculed for being a "goal hanger", described as "lethal from twelve inches" – a parody of Lineker's short-range scoring prowess. Following the departure of Steve Rider from the BBC, Lineker, who is a keen recreational golfer with a handicap of four, became the new presenter for the BBC's golf coverage. Despite receiving some criticism from his peers, he continued to front the BBC's coverage of the Masters and The Open, where he put his language skills to good use by giving an impromptu interview in Spanish with Argentinian Andrés Romero.

He presented a six-part TV Series for the BBC in 1998 (directed by Lloyd Stanton) called Golden Boots, with other football celebrities. It was an extensive history of the World Cup focusing on the 'Golden Boots' (top scorers).

In 2001, Lineker was approached by game makers Codemasters to front the LMA Manager series on PlayStation. Lineker would pair up with Alan Hansen, fellow MOTD pundit to voice the post match comments on the game, with Barry Davies voicing the commentary. Since then the game has sold millions of copies and in LMA Manager 2006, Lineker voices news items and the cup draws on the game. In 2004 he was also chosen to front the Codemasters England International Football game, with him voicing the team selection and the pre- and post-match menus.

In 2002, Lineker took on his first acting role, barring roles playing himself in films such as Bend It Like Beckham or in the adapted-for-television stage play An Evening with Gary Lineker, as the voice of Underground Ernie on the BBC's children's channel, CBeebies. Both Gary and Michelle Lineker make a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-them' appearance as diners leaving a restaurant in the 1993 Eric Idle film Splitting Heirs.

In 2003 Lineker was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

In 2005, Lineker was sued for defamation by Australian footballer Harry Kewell over comments Lineker had made writing in his column in the Sunday Telegraph about Kewell's transfer from Leeds United to Liverpool. However the jury was unable to reach a verdict. It transpired in the case that the article had actually been ghost-written by a journalist at the Sunday Telegraph following a telephone interview with Lineker.

In December 2008 Lineker appeared on the ITV1 television programme Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Christmas Special where he and English rugby union player Austin Healey won £50,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

In 2009, Lineker and his wife Danielle hosted a series of the BBC's Northern Exposure, following on from Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen from the previous year in visiting and showcasing locations throughout Northern Irelandmarker.

Walkers advertisements

His popularity has enabled him to appear in a light-hearted series of commercials for Walkers, playing a comical role as an arch-villain which sends up his reputation as a nice guy. He has been fronting these adverts since 1995, making this one of the longest running advertising campaigns ever. Walkers, a Leicester-based British producer of snack foods, temporarily named their salt & vinegar crisps after Lineker in the late 1990s — they were labelled 'Salt-n-Lineker. This was also due to the fact that his favourite flavour crisps are Salt and Vinegar. . Lineker's involvement with Walkers caused Mark E. Smith, singer with The Fall, to coin the nickname 'Crisp Man' for him.

Video games

Software house Gremlin released Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer in 1987, Gary Lineker's Superskills in 1988, and Gary Lineker's Hot Shot in 1989 for 8-bit platforms. He later lent his voice to the LMA Manager series.

Personal life

Lineker is a freeman of the City of Leicester (which entitles him to graze his sheep — should he have any — on Town Hall Square) and he is often referred to as "Leicester's favourite son". As a youngster, he famously worked on his family's stall in Leicester Market. Lineker still helped out on the stall at the height of his playing career during the late 1980s and early 1990s, though usually only in the closed season. His links with cricket were renewed when he was invited to become Honorary President of Kent-based wandering cricket club, Paraguayan Elbows CC. The club, which was founded in 1986, was named in his honour after an incident in that summer's World Cup match between England and Paraguay.

Lineker married Michelle in 1986, but they divorced in August 2006. They announced their split in April 2006 but stated that the situation was amicable. They have four sons, George, Harry, Tobias, and Angus. His oldest son George survived a rare form of leukaemia as a baby in the early 1990s; Gary now supports children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and has since appeared in adverts encouraging people to give blood as a result. Lineker has been actively involved with other cancer charities such as Fight for Life and Cancer Research UK.

In October 2002, Lineker announced a £5 million rescue plan for cash-strapped club Leicester City, describing his involvement as charity rather than an ego trip. He said that he would invest a six-figure sum and other members of his consortium would invest a similar amount. Lineker met the fans' group to persuade them to try and raise money to rescue his former club. Another six-figure sum donor was Emile Heskey, who had not only followed in Lineker's footsteps by going to the same school as him, but also went on to play for Leicester City and England. Lineker is now honorary vice-president of Leicester City, along with Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton, and the north stand of the club's Walkers Stadiummarker is named in his honour.

Gary married Danielle Lineker (née Bux, born 15 June 1979) on 2 September, 2009, in Italy. The ceremony was attended by friends and family.



Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different, Colin Malam, Stanley Paul Publications, London, 1993 ISBN 0-09-175424-0

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