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Gary Lineker
Gender Male
Ethnic English
Job English Footballer
Desc The former Everton, Tottenham and Barcelona star scored prolifically for the national side, hitting 48 goals in 86 caps and winning the Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, one of only two England players to have won the award, Harry Kane being the other in 2018


Org England National Team
Club as Player Leicester City
  Barcelona FC

1990 01 Retrieve

[After losing the 1990 FIFA World Cup semifinal to Germany by a penalty shootout] Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for ninety minutes and at the end, the Germans win

2014 11 12 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker on Maradona] When Diego scored that second goal against us, I felt like applauding. I’d never felt like that before, but it’s true. He’s the greatest player of all time, by a long way. A genuine phenomenon

2014 12 14 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker on Andy Carroll] Andy Carroll says that West Ham can challenge for the title this season. I wouldn’t argue with him…because he’s massive!

2015 03 22 Tweet

[Gary Lineker on Messi] Never mind Messi’s goal scoring records. Never mind that Messi’s the best dribbler ever. Messi’s also the best passer the game’s ever seen

2015 05 06 Tweet

[Gary Lineker on Messi] Anyone still arguing? He’s the Messiah. I should know, I’ve followed a few.

2016 02 04 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] One runs out of superlatives in describing him as a player: he has great vision, awareness, touch, finish, not to mention selflessness, which for a striker almost sounds like a contradiction in terms. But there has always been so much more to Bergkamp than just goalscoring ability and he has plenty of that as his ratio of one goal in less than two and a half games testifies

2016 02 17 Retrieve

[Quote on Roberto Carlos] I played in a friendly in Japan against him when he was a young lad. I remember this kid running and down the left wing. It was unbelievable. Gordon Milne was coaching us and I said, ‘We’ve got to find out who that kid is - let’s try and buy him’. It turned out that his name was Roberto Carlos. They said, ‘He’s not for sale.’

2016 02 23 Retrieve

[Quotes on Paul Gascoigne] Mad as a box of frogs, and is to this day. But what a player. The most naturally gifted footballer England has produced

2016 02 24 Retrieve

[Quotes on Paul Gascoigne] What made him special was the lack of fear in his game. He would try anything, and he would never be scared that something would go wrong. And more than anything else, the love for showing off the abilities that he had, and that’s what lifts him above

2016 02 25 Retrieve

[Quotes on Paul Gascoigne] Part of his genius, part of his magnificence, is the fact that he was so vulnerable. Without that vulnerable side, without that carefree side, without all the things that come with Gazza, I don’t think Paul Gascoigne would have been the player that he was

2016 02 26 Retrieve

[Quotes on Paul Gascoigne] He had great confidence. You could see he played for the love of the game. He didn’t obviously give it too much thought, and he had this amazing strength of the body. and he’d push people off

2016 02 27 Retrieve

[Quotes on Paul Gascoigne] The first time I heard the name Paul Gascoigne was when he was in his early days at Newcastle. People in the game started talking about this young man that had something a little bit special. He was a precocious young talent, a kid that would do things, that would take people on, that would beat people, and had an unbelievable natural talent

2016 03 19 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker writes a column reflecting on the club’s fairytale rise to the top of the English Premier League] What we are witnessing, should Leicester go on to win the title, is quite possibly the most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport. A collection of individuals who couldn’t win a football match for love nor money a year ago have turned into an invincible force. A team with a spirit and togetherness the like of which the game has seldom seen. All beautifully held together by the canny, inspirational - yes, inspirational - Tinkerman

2016 03 21 Retrieve

[on Harry Kane] Without wishing to make any horrible comparisons with someone, Kane does remind me a little bit of Shearer. I like Kane and I know Shearer likes him a lot as well. He has a really strong all-round game. He’s not lightning quick, but he’s not slow. That’s the only thing you would look at and say, ‘If he was a yard or two quicker’ … well, I don’t know what you’d be looking at. He scores poacher’s goals, great goals, takes free kicks, takes penalties. He does the whole thing

2016 03 22 Retrieve

[on Harry Kane] He could go on to become a great goalscorer for Tottenham and possibly England as well. I like him a lot. I like his movement, his work rate, his desire to score goals and his confidence to take people on. He is good in the air, he has a good touch, he can beat people and he has clearly got a bit of intelligence. If he had an extra yard of pace, you would say he had everything

2016 03 24 Tweet

[Gary Lineker pays tribute to Cruyff] Sad to hear that Johan Cruyff has died. Football has lost a man who did more to make the beautiful game beautiful than anyone in history

2016 04 30 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker sings high praise for Leicester City’s midfield engine N’Golo Kante] I don’t think there’s a team in the world he wouldn’t get into. He’d be first on my team sheet - well, apart from the obvious pair (Messi and Ronaldo). What’s remarkable about him, with the amount of interceptions and tackles he makes, is that he never goes on the floor. He comes out of everything with the ball. He’s like Makelele but… better

2016 08 09 Tweet

[Gary Lineker talks about the Paul Pogba who was just signed by Man Utd] The signing of Pogba by Man Utd is a watershed moment for the Premier League. First time a huge foreign star in his prime has come to England

[He added the wealth of the Premier League meant] more of the greats will come here and not just to Barca and Real Madrid

[When challenged about other big names such as Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Yaya Toure and Angel di Maria, Lineker responds] Either Barca cast-offs, not genuine superstars or built their reputation here

2017 02 25 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker reacts to the news that his club sacked manager Claudio Ranieri] I shed a tear last night. I shed a tear for Claudio Ranieri. I shed a tear for football, and I shed a tear for my club. It’s inexplicable to me, and I think it’s inexplicable to a lot of football fans who love the game, but I suppose in some ways you can explain it in terms of a panic decision, and for me a wrong decision and it’s very sad

2017 03 10 Retrieve

[Quotes on Frank Lampard] A fine player, an outstanding finisher and a credit to the game of football

2018 12 17 Tweet

[Brexit’s coming home] There are some things in life that, even for someone like me, are more important than football

2019 08 06 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker believes Tottenham could be in danger of ‘driving away a seriously top coach’ unless they back Mauricio Pochettino in the transfer market] I think Pochettino has been putting pressure on the board with his comments in the media. I saw him a few months back and you could tell then that he was keen to bring in a few players because they have hardly signed anyone in the last couple of years. Despite that, they are not far short of being a really, really top side and it must be very frustrating for him. There comes a point where Tottenham could drive away a seriously top coach and they have to be careful to make sure that doesn’t happen, but there are other factors in play here.

We don’t know the financial position of the club right now after the move to the new stadium and that might be affecting their spending power in the transfer market. Running a football club is not easy and even though fans and managers want new signings all the time, you don’t really know what is going on behind the scenes. There is no doubt that Tottenham are short in a couple of positions to go on from where they are now and win the big trophies, but they have done well to hang on to their best players in recent years and we wait to see what happens with players coming and going up to the deadline on Thursday. We have to wait until the end of the window and if they were to sell a player like Christian Eriksen and not buy a suitable replacement, then you could say they have let Pochettino down. However, that hasn’t happened yet

You look at Tottenham and if they were to lose a player like Eriksen and didn’t replace him, then Pochettino would be irritated, there is no question about that, but we don’t know what that would mean for his future. However, there is no point speculating on something that might happen when we have only for until Thursday afternoon to wait to find out whether they will happen. There are a lot of ifs and buts in the stories linking Erikson with Manchester United and I tend to ignore these rumours until they actually happen. I know from my contacts within the game how transfers work and clubs will have lists of players of who they want in different positions. They will work down that list until they get the one they want.

So while Eriksen might be on that transfer list for Manchester United, the chances are they might not get him and there is no point in speculating on whether moving to United would be a step up for Eriksen as it will probably never happen. If this moves goes through, then you can give a verdict and discuss what it all means, but there is a 95 per cent chance it will never happen, so there is probably no point in us speculating on what it would mean if this move transpires by Thursday

2019 08 08 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker has rejected suggestions that Manchester United lack the pulling power they once possessed] It is just silly to say Manchester United are not what they once were and there is no question that they are still a great football club. Football is cyclical. No one wins the league year after year forever more and that’s a good thing because we all want to see new winners and new stories, but United are still a huge draw for any player and we saw that this week with Harry Maguire going there from Leicester. Liverpool is a great football club, but they haven’t won an English league title for 30 years, so do we say they are not the force they once were because of that? They are European champions, they are a fantastic club and they have a great team at the moment, so football is not black and white. My old club Tottenham have not won one of the big trophies for a long time, but they are still a great club and just because we have seen United going through a period of transition after Alex Ferguson’s retirement and have made a few mistakes with recruitment doesn’t mean to say you are no longer a great football club

[Lineker suggests Solskjaer needs to be given time to reshape the club’s image despite pre-season pessimism from some of the club’s supporters] They have shifted their policy slightly to young, British players and that is probably the right route to go after some difficult years signings star names. I can see United closing the gap this season. They are obviously not going to be up there with Manchester City and Liverpool challenging for the title, but it all about getting closer to those top two. They are a work in progress and let’s see where we are in a few months. This is Solskjaer’s first full season in the job, they have made some good defensive signings and they just need a few things to click into place and they could surprise a few people this season

2019 08 10 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker says Harry Maguire is overpriced but the market is mad. When asked if the United new boy’s asking price can be considered a bargain or baffling] Both. Of course, he’s overpriced because the market is mad. First thing you think is ‘oh, £80 million, that’s a lot for a centre-half’ and it is, it’s a mad amount of money. We’ve [Leicester] lost a really good player so what’s important now is how that money is spent on replacements. It could be really beneficial, but for supporters, they’re losing another good player just as they start to think we’re doing well. Manchester United needed a ball-playing central defender and [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer wanted Maguire. He’s a terrific player so the board backed him. Some Manchester United fans will say ‘oh we’ve overpaid’, but it doesn’t make any difference to them. It’s just a number, isn’t it? The club will still make loads of money. Liverpool fans said it about Van Dijk, but nobody’s saying it now. Van Dijk’s gone on to be brilliant

[Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho are two of the most highly-rated talents available to Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate. Asked who he considers to be the brighter prospect] They’re both terrific. What Sancho has done in Germany has been great for him and I think we’re at a time when we’ve [England] got lots of terrific, exciting young players. I’d also put Phil Foden alongside these two. Euro 2020 might be a bit early for us, but we’ll be very competitive in Qatar [at the 2022 World Cup]. If I had to choose one? At the moment I’d go for Sancho because he’s fit and Hudson-Odoi has had that [Achilles] injury

2019 08 10b Retrieve

[Gary Lineker says Lionel Messi is a ridiculous talent] I love them both, but if you say on Twitter, ‘that’s an unbelievably great goal from the wonderful Cristiano Ronaldo’ you’ll get Messi fans on your case and if you say something brilliant about Messi, which I do a lot because he’s ridiculous, you’ll get Ronaldo fans on your case. You can love them both and admire them both which I do, but they’re very different. Ronaldo’s an athlete. He’s driven, he’s got the absolute best out of his game. He’s the best header of the ball I’ve ever seen and the best goalscorer I’ve ever seen. But Messi is also as good a goalscorer as there’s ever been and he’s as good a passer as you’ll ever see and as good a dribbler as you’ll ever see. When I watch Ronaldo I admire him, when I watch Messi he gives me joy and for me, that’s the difference

2019 08 27 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker comments on Eric Cantona’s quote of King Lear at the Uefa Champions League draw] Barcelona, Dortmund, Inter could be the group of death but as Cantona says we’ll soon be eternal so what’s the problem?

2019 09 20 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker claims Lionel Messi does everything and more that Diego Maradona could do] I never thought I’d see a better player than Diego. Maradona was unbelievable. I was so much in awe of him, as was everybody in those days. Messi does everything and more that Maradona could do. His goalscoring ratio is near enough a goal a game, whereas Diego’s is about one in two, which is still very good in those days. It’s a little bit easier now. But also, Messi is the best dribbler I’ve ever seen and he’s as good of a passer as I’ve ever seen. Diego was great at both of those things, but when you take into account the longevity that Messi’s done it for. Around 15 years at the same level. I’m a massive fan of Ronaldo but watching Messi makes me feel joyous. Messi can do four or five things in a game that get you off your seat

2019 09 21 Tweet

[VAR slammed yet again as Tottenham see Aurier goal controversially ruled out] Even though it’s worked for @lcfc today, the way VAR is being used is crap. Could and should benefit the game but at present it’s sucking the life out of it

2019 09 21b Retrieve

[Gary Lineker breaks down the sustained excellence of Lionel Messi] When you look at Messi, he does everything and more that [Diego Maradona] could do. He’s the best dribbler I’ve ever seen; he’s as good a passer as I’ve ever seen. And then you take into account the longevity that Messi has done it in

2019 10 14 Retrieve

[Lineker has worked with Walkers crisps since 1995, and even revealed in a recent interview that several younger fans believe he is only famous for selling the snack] I saw two teenage girls talking amongst themselves saying ‘it’s definitely the Walkers crisp man’ as though I wasn’t there. To that generation I am that man. To others I present Match of the Day. To other really really old people I used to kick a ball about. But it works. I think it’s by far the longest celebrity endorsed campaign going

2019 10 14b Retrieve

[What businesses does Gary Lineker have?] Goalhanger Films is a UK-based television production company specialising in sport. We produce access documentaries featuring major sports stars and Premier League football clubs. Our recent slate includes shows such as Wayne Rooney: The Man Behind the Goals; Being Kevin Pietersen; Anthony Joshua: A Legend in the Making; Behind the Badge; Hand of God; and Leicester’s Impossible Dream

2019 10 16 Retrieve

[England’s players were subjected to racist abuse during Monday night’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria in Sofia] Gareth Southgate has shown, once again, under trying circumstances what a sound, measured and intelligent leader he is. We’ve got the right man in charge of our young team at the right time

2019 11 03 Retrieve

[Ex-Spurs striker Gary Lineker on Son Heung-min’s red card] Son clearly massively upset. Without the injury he wouldn’t have been shown a red card. He’ll care less about that than injuring a fellow professional so seriously. Such a shame

2019 11 05 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker slams Chelsea fans that left Champions League clash with Ajax early] We saw fans walking out at 4-1 and they must have said ‘What did I do? Why did I leave?’ when they got home. It just shows you with football you never know. You never give up

2019 11 20 Retrieve

[Former Tottenham and England striker Gary Lineker has said Spurs will not find a better manager than Mauricio Pochettino, following the Argentinian being relieved of his duties] Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by Spurs. He helped the club to punch massively above their weight for years. Good luck with finding a better replacement […] ain’t gonna happen

2019 12 14 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker admit watching Messi more joyous then watching Ronaldo] I’m a massive fan of Ronaldo but watching Messi makes me feel joyous. Messi can do four or five things in a game that get you off your seat. I never thought I’d see a better player than Diego. Maradona was unbelievable. I was so much in awe of him, as was everybody in those days

Messi does everything that Maradona could do and more. His goalscoring ratio is near enough a goal a game, whereas Diego’s is about one in two, which is still very good in those days. It’s a little bit easier now. But also, Messi is the best dribbler I’ve ever seen and he’s as good of a passer as I’ve ever seen. Diego was great at both of those things, but when you take into account the longevity that Messi’s done it for. Around 15 years at the same level. Remarkable

2019 12 21 Retrieve

[World Cup winner and West Ham legend Martin Peters has died aged 76] Sorry to hear that Martin Peters has passed away. One of our World Cup winning heroes. A great player and a true gentleman.

2020 01 16 Retrieve

[Lineker to suggest the FA Cup should consider a major change] Bit controversial, but I’d get rid of replays in the FA Cup. 90 minutes only, no extra time, penalties if a draw. It’s a thing from a bygone age. Would give smaller teams a greater chance of going through. We’re the only country that has them. Just a thought

[Lineker on Brandon Williams] The more I watch Brandon Williams, the more I like what I see. Another exciting young English talent

[One aspect of the match Lineker didn’t like so much was the decision to disallow a Wolves goal for handball] Wolves goal disallowed. The new handball law is utterly absurd, exacerbated by the existence of VAR that has no choice but to pick out every flick of a knuckle

2020 01 27 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker says Liverpool academy product Trent Alexander-Arnold will develop into the best player of the current Reds crop] Trent [Alexander-Arnold] came through the academy and he’s going to be the best of the lot. They’ve got lots of special players, particularly up front with the big three. But Trent is very special. He’s one of those players I watch every game and see three or four things from him that I go: ‘Oh my God’. Like the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona with that quick corner. What a remarkable thing for a kid to do - to have that gall and bravery against some of the world’s best players. That could’ve ended up looking stupid but he’s smart. I interviewed him a year ago at his home. He was very shy and you can be kidded by a soft scouse accent but this kid’s really intelligent

[Lineker pinpointed Klopp’s ability to transform new signings into world-class players as one of the key reasons behind the club’s resurgence] When they bought Salah everybody thought: ‘Hmmm … should be all right. Mane looked a good player at Southampton. But did we think he was this good? Henderson was there and everyone goes: ‘Nah. He’s nothing special.’ Everybody had a go at him. Now people are realising this kid’s a bloody good football player and a real leader. We all knew Van Djik was good but he came from Celtic and Southampton. Wijnaldum came from Newcastle. Andy Robertson didn’t cost much from Hull

2020 02 01 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker jokes about the theoretical of Video Assistant Refereeing being in place at the 1986 World Cup] Anyway, if we’d had VAR it would have been 1-0 to us and I scored the winner. Happy days

2020 03 31 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker says Harry Kane shouldn’t be criticised for being honest] It’s understandable. He’s a top-class player, he’s one of the great strikers in world football and there’s bound to be a degree of frustration with the recent progress at Spurs. It’s not easy. We’ve seen it with Arsenal that when you build a new ground it can slow down your development and that’s possibly happening with Tottenham. He’s just being very honest, isn’t he? He’s saying that if they don’t go on to win things … because every player wants to win things in their career. I didn’t win too much myself. But it would be unthinkable for a player of Harry Kane’s stature if he didn’t win anything in his entire career. You can’t criticise him too much for having that view. He’s been at the club for a long time and he’s been brilliant. And he might well stay there, they might possibly develop, but you’d say they’re four or five players short of certainly challenging for the title

2020 04 02 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker defends Premier League footballers from salary critics] It’s now up to the players how they respond, let’s give them a chance to respond, before this hugely judgmental pile-on that we always get nowadays. Football is always an easy target but where are the big businessmen, where are the CEOs of these enormous companies, what are they doing at the moment? Nobody ever seems to care about them but footballers, who do an unbelievable amount of good in the community that never gets reported, who do lots of things to raise awareness during this dreadfully difficult time. So let’s wait and see, and see what they do. I’ll be the first to criticise them if they do nothing.

[Earlier, Lineker hit out at MP David Lammy, who had strong words for the Spurs management and squad] ‘s not criminal. Fact is players are not training together so meetings would take time to organise. I’m positive most of them would want to do something to help but don’t know how, or worry about treading a lonely path. Let’s give them a chance to act before we all wade in

2020 04 03 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker gives his support to players, suggesting the spotlight should instead fall on the far wealthier club owners] It’s now up to the players how they respond. Let’s give them a chance to respond, before this hugely judgmental pile-on that we always get nowadays. Football is always an easy target but where are the big businessmen, where are the CEOs of these enormous companies, what are they doing at the moment? Nobody ever seems to care about them but footballers, who do an unbelievable amount of good in the community that never gets reported, who do lots of things to raise awareness during this dreadfully difficult time. So, let’s wait and see, and see what they do. I’ll be the first to criticise them if they do nothing

2020 04 09 Retrieve

[Lineker had previously questioned why other successful members of society were not coming under the same scrutiny as footballers] Footballers are doing their bit as I was confident they would. Let’s hope that others that are in a position to help, those that weren’t unfairly targeted, do likewise. Proud of our players

2020 04 13 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker says Rashford reminds him somewhat of World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe] Rashford seems to be bossing it as a central striker. There are a lot of similarities between [him and Mbappe]. Both have electric pace, both can beat people and they can both finish. But there are differences too. It’s a bit like comparing Michael Owen with the Brazilian Ronaldo, one is a powerhouse, a real athlete, the other is a bit more delicate in his play

2020 04 17 Retrieve

[Pundit Gary Lineker, however, questioned the truth of the ‘2-0 is the most dangerous lead in football’ phrase] When did 2-0 up become a dangerous score? Hear it so often now. Would like to know percentage of games lost from there? Suspect not high

2020 04 17b Retrieve

[Gary Lineker, the presenter of Match of the Day and another former England international on Norman Hunter] Grew up watching the great LUFC side of which Norman Hunter was a part. This awful virus was one crunching tackle too far

2020 04 24 Retrieve

[His appointment at Leicester was viewed by many onlookers with scepticism, including former England and Foxes striker Gary Lineker, who believed Ranieri had used up all his chances coaching at the highest level] Claudio Ranieri? Really? Amazing how the same old names keep getting a go on the managerial merry-go-round

2020 05 30 Retrieve

[Gary Lineker says Messi vs Ronaldo debate is not even close] People get very tribal in all sorts of ways in life, and Messi versus Ronaldo is one of them. Often the choice seems to come down to whether you support Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus or whoever, which is fine - I understand that. I am a huge fan of Ronaldo too, but if you’re talking about the best player ever, there shouldn’t even be a debate that it is Messi. That’s just my opinion, but it’s not even close for me.

essi has obviously played in some great teams during his time there but, whoever has been alongside him, his amazing numbers have carried on exactly the same. He has proved the doubters wrong, time and time again. Even for the past couple of seasons, when the Barca team has not been anything like as strong as it was in the past, his contribution has not dipped. In fact, they have been a real mess without him. It’s rare for any player to stay with one club now, in the way Messi has with Barcelona, let alone someone who moved there from a different country like he did when he left Argentina for Spain, aged 13. But, if he had left for any reason, Messi would have been accused of being disloyal. He cannot win, basically. And why would he want to move anyway? He started with one of the greatest clubs in world football. Leave Barca and you only move sideways at best. You are never going to move up

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[Why did Gary Lineker ‘sh*t’ on the pitch at World Cup 1990?] I’ve never admitted to it, but it’s true. It was a World Cup game. It’s filmed, I’ve seen it but unless you know [what was happening] you wouldn’t know. I was not very well; I was poorly at half-time but I carried on. The ball went down the left-hand side. I did try to tackle someone, I stretched and then I relaxed myself

I was very fortunate it rained that night and I could do something about it. It was messy, it just came out, it happened. How much detail do you want? 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