Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Leicester, he became the foremost English striker of his generation. Lineker's intelligence enabled him to cope better than his contemporaries when playing in continental Europe, as well as to make a smooth transition into a role as pundit and sports broadcaster.
He began his career at his hometown club of Leicester City in 1976 and broke into Leicester's first-team squad in 1978. He rose to fame with Everton (1985-86) scoring 40 goals in 42 games, before signing with Barcelona with whom he won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. He returned to England, funded by a sports scholarship from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, to play three seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 67 goals in 105 games and winning the F.A. Cup, before ending his career with an injury-plagued spell in the J. League with Nagoya Grampus Eight.
He first played for England's national team against Scotland in 1984, winning the Golden Boot at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and reaching the semi-finals in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He retired from international football with 80 caps and 48 goals, one fewer than Bobby Charlton's England record (though Lineker scored his 48 goals with 26 fewer caps than Charlton took to score his 49).
He was PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1986 and, despite his long career, was never cautioned by a referee for foul play (never once receiving either a yellow or red card; in the modern professional and international game this is thought to be unprecedented). In addition to his "nice guy" image, it has been suggested that this was because he rarely joined in the defensive duties of a team.
Following retirement he commenced a career in the media, replacing Des Lynam on the BBC's flagship football television programme Match of the Day, and as a team captain on the sports game show They Think It's All Over from 1995 to 2003, where he was heavily ridiculed for being a "goal hanger".
His popularity has enabled him to appear in a light-hearted series of commercials for Walker's crisps, playing a comical role which sends up his reputation as a nice guy.
Lineker 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.
He is married and he and his wife Michelle have four sons.
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