Gary Lineker is a retired English footballer who was one of the leading strikers in the world during his playing career. He is the third highest goal scorer among English footballers and holds England’s record maximum number of goals in FIFA World Cup finals. He was a versatile sportsman in his youth and played both football and cricket but later decided to become a footballer. He started his career by joining his home town club Leicester City and his prolific goal scoring helped the club to win promotion to the First Division. After his stint with the Leicester City, he played for Everton for a season. On the basis of his creditable performance for the English national team in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, he was snapped up by Spanish club Barcelona for whom he played for three years. He played for English club Tottenham Hotspur as well after leaving Barcelona and helped the London based club win an FA Cup. Following the end of his playing career, he forged a successful media career and is currently a popular sports broadcaster.
Childhood & Early Life
Gary Lineker was born on 30 November 1960 in Leicester, England, to Barry Lineker and his wife Margaret P. He has a younger brother named Wayne and his father was a greengrocer in Leicester.
He studied at the Caldecote Road School and then attended the City of Leicester Boys’ Grammar School, since the school was a better prospect for students who were keen on football. He was a versatile sportsman at school and shone in both football and cricket. He captained the Leicestershire Schools cricket team for five years and even considered becoming a professional cricketer rather than a footballer.
After graduating from high school, he decided against going to university and started concentrating more on a potential career in football. In 1976, he joined the youth ranks of his local club Leicester City.
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Gary Lineker rose through the youth ranks at Leicester City quickly and soon made it to the senior team as a striker. His prolific goal scoring was pivotal in helping the club to get promoted to the First Division in 1980.
In 1981–1982 season, he scored 19 goals the club and one season later he emerged as the top scorer in the English Second Division to help the club gain promotion to the First Division yet again.
Following Leicester City’s promotion to the First Division, he continued to score goals for the club in the First Division and in 1984, he ended up as the second highest goal scorer in the league. He also made his debut for the English national team that year.
In 1984–1985 season, he scored 24 goals to finish as the highest goal scorer. Following his exploits with Leicester, he moved to the defending league champions Everton for a fee of £800,000 after the season was over.
He played for Everton for one season and during that season he scored 30 goals and emerged as the top scorer in the English league. Everton reached the finals of the FA cup but lost to Liverpool.
Lineker led the English attack in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and ended as the tournament’s highest goal scorer with six goals but England were knocked out in the quarter finals by Argentina.
His performance at the World Cup in 1986 made him a global star and subsequently he moved to Spanish club Barcelona, who paid £2,800,000 for his services. He scored 21 goals in his first season and in his second season helped the club win the Copa del Ray in 1988, followed by the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1989. During his three year stint at the club, he scored 42 goals in 103 league games.
In 1988, he led the English attack at the European Championships but failed to score any goals as the national team got knocked out in the first round.
In the 1990 World Cup in Italy, he scored 4 goals to help England reach the semifinals of the tournament. He played 80 times for the national team and scored 48 goals in total.
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In 1989, he moved to English club Tottenham Hotspur and in his very first season at the club, he scored 24 goals to top the goal scoring charts yet again.
In 1991, he helped Tottenham Hotspur win the FA Cup. He was one of the most prolific strikers in the English league during his three year stint at the club and scored 67 league goals in 105 appearances.
He left Tottenham Hotspur and joined Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1992. He was at the end of his career and suffered from injuries. He 23 games and scored nine goals during his two year stint with the club. He retired in 1994.
Following the end of his playing career, Lineker has had a successful media career during which he has been a presenter, columnist and football show host. Currently, he hosts the iconic BBC football show ‘Match of the Day’.
Awards & Achievements
He won the FIFA Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup; he was the tournament’s highest goal scorer with for with 6 goals.
He is the England's third highest scorer behind Wayne Rooney & Bobby Charlton. He scored 48 goals for England.
He was included in ‘FIFA 100’—a list of the "greatest living footballers" compiled by Pele.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1986, Lineker got married to Michelle Cockayne. The couple has for sons, George, Harry, Tobias and Angus. The marriage ended in 2006.
On 2 September 2009 he got married to Welsh model Danielle Bux. The marriage ended on 13 January 2016. They have no children.
Gary Lineker has an estimated net worth of $31.5 million.