Soccer

Gary Lineker admits Qatar World Cup may be his last as BBC contract nears end

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has sensationally admitted the Qatar World Cup may be his last as a presenter.

The former Tottenham Hotspur and England striker, 61, made his second World Cup debut in 2002, this time from the studio, after featuring on the pitch for the Three Lions in 1986 and 1990.

Lineker, who became the first Englishman to claim the World Cup golden boot, netted 10 goals in total for England across two tournament finals before entering into a career in the media, but the Leicester-loving forward has been a mainstay on our TV screens ever since.

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Taking over BBC presenting duties from Des Lynam, who transferred to terrestrial rivals ITV, in 1999, the Qatar tournament is Lineker's sixth from the studio, though he has now revealed it could be his final showing.

In a sit-down interview alongside Lynam, conducted by The Telegraph, the 80-year-old asked: "Will you still be there at the next one?"

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To which Lineker replied: "I don’t know, Des. I’ve got a contract for another couple of years and that will take me into my mid-Sixties, so we’ll see. The thing is I still love it."

Lineker led BBC coverage of England's opening group stage match against Iran on Monday afternoon, where Gareth Southgate's side got off to the perfect start by dismantling their Middle Eastern counterparts 6-2.

Also quizzed on the Three Lions' chances of ending 56 years of hurt, Lineker was quietly optimistic. He said: "Well, they [England] have defensive problems, but no one is a real favourite, so you never know. But if they do do well, it will be huge.

"We are a society divided more than ever, we can’t seem to agree on anything. But a World Cup brings us together, like nothing else really. And being able to report on that is a privilege."

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