014. Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker is one of football’s gentlemen. In all his professional career, he didn’t receive a yellow card. A silent man off the field, on it he was deadly. He started his career in Leicester scoring nearly 100 goals in less than 200 appearances. In 1985, a year before the Mexico World Cup, he moved to Everton and personally he had a fantastic season. Lineker was Player of the Year and top scorer that season with 40 goals in total. Everton, despite Lineker’s goals, ended up runners-up in both the league and the FA cup after their rivals Liverpool.
In the 1986 World Cup England started slowly and needed a win in the last group match against Poland to progress to the knockout stage. A Lineker hat-trick got them through, and Paraguay, the next opponents couldn’t cope with Lineker either and England won 3-0 (Lineker 2 goals). In the quarter final, Argentina and Maradona proved too strong. “The hand of God” and an individual brilliance by the little man sent Argentina through, but Lineker scored England consolation goal and that saw him top scorer in that tournament. Lineker later had spells with Barcelona and Tottenham, where he among the trophies won the Cup Winner’s Cup and the FA Cup.
In 1990 England reached the semifinal, Lineker scored four goals on their way there, making him only the 8th player in World Cup history to score 10 goals or more. He bowed out in the 1992 European Championship in Sweden where he and England had a disappointing tournament. All in all for England he scored 48 goals (one goal behind Bobby Charlton’s record) in 80 matches.
Gary Lineker is now the face of BBC Television football, presenting the popular ‘Match of the Day’ programme.