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Gary Lineker

Gary Winston Lineker OBE (/ˈlɪnɪkər/; born 30

Gary Lineker
November 1960) is an English former professional
footballer and current sports broadcaster. He holds
England's record for goals in FIFA World Cup finals, with
10 scored. Lineker's media career began with the BBC,
where he has presented the flagship football programme
Match of the Day since the late 1990s. He has also worked
for Al Jazeera Sports, Eredivisie Live, NBC Sports Network
and currently hosts BT Sport's coverage of the UEFA
Champions League.

Lineker began his football career at Leicester City in 1978,

and finished as the First Division's joint top goalscorer in
1984–85. He then moved to League Champions Everton
where he developed as a clinical finisher, scoring 30 goals
in 41 games. His first team honours came at Barcelona,
where he won the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Lineker in 2011
Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. He returned to England in
Born Gary Winston Lineker
1989, joining Tottenham Hotspur, and over three seasons
30 November 1960
he scored 67 goals in 105 games and won the FA Cup.
Leicester, England
Lineker's final club was Nagoya Grampus Eight and he
retired in 1994 after two seasons at the Japanese side.
Occupation Sports broadcaster, former professional
Lineker made his England debut in 1984, earning 80 caps Salary £1.5 million (approx.) (BBC salary)
and scoring 48 goals over an eight-year international
Spouse(s) Michelle Cockayne
career, and is England's third highest scorer, behind Bobby (m. 1986; div. 2006)
Charlton and Wayne Rooney. His international goals-to- Danielle Bux
games ratio remains one of the best for the country and he (m. 2009; div. 2016)
is regarded as one of the all-time best English strikers. He Children 4
was top scorer in the 1986 World Cup and received the
Parent(s) Barry Lineker
Golden Boot, the only time an Englishman had done so
Margaret Abbs
until Harry Kane in the 2018 World Cup. He is also the
only player to have been the top scorer in England with Association football career
three clubs (Leicester City, Everton and Tottenham
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Even though he enjoyed a long career, Lineker never 1976–1978 Leicester City
received a yellow or red card.[1][2] As a result, he was Senior career*
honoured in 1990 with the FIFA Fair Play Award. In a Years Team Apps (Gls)
senior career which spanned 16 years and 567 competitive 1978–1985 Leicester City 194 (95)
games, Lineker scored a total of 330 goals, including 282 1985–1986 Everton 41 (30)
goals at club level. After his retirement from football he 1986–1989 Barcelona 103 (42)
was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. A 1989–1992 Tottenham Hotspur 105 (67)
keen supporter of Leicester City, he led a consortium that 1992–1994 Nagoya Grampus Eight 18 (4)
invested in his old club, saving it from bankruptcy, and Total 460 (238)
was appointed honorary vice-president. National team
1984 England B 1 (0)
1984–1992 England 80 (48)
Contents * Senior club appearances and goals counted for the
domestic league only
Early life
Club career
Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspur
Nagoya Grampus Eight
International career
Media career
Walkers advertisements
Goalhanger Films
Personal life
Career statistics
International goals
Further reading
External links

Early life
Lineker was born in Leicester, the son of Margaret P. (Abbs) and Barry Lineker.[3] His middle name came from Winston
Churchill, with whom he shares his birthday.[4] He has one younger brother, Wayne who is two years his junior. Lineker grew
up with his family in the city, playing football with his brother Wayne.[5] Lineker's father was a greengrocer, as was his
grandfather William and great-grandfather, George,[6] in Leicester. His father ran Lineker's fruit and veg stall in Leicester
Market and as a child and a young player he regularly helped out on the stall.[7]

Lineker first attended Caldecote Road School[8] (Caldecote Juniors), Braunstone in Leicester (east of the Meridian Centre)
although he lived outside the borough. He went to the City of Leicester Boys' Grammar School (now City of Leicester College)
on Downing Drive in Evington, inside the borough of Leicester due to his preference for football rather than rugby, which was
the main sport of most schools near his home. As a result, he lived with his grandmother, who lived in the city, while
attending school. Lineker was equally talented at both football and cricket. From the ages of 11 to 16 he captained the
Leicestershire Schools cricket team, and had felt that he had a higher chance of succeeding at it rather than football.[9] He
later stated on They Think It's All Over that as a teenager he idolised former England captain David Gower, who was playing
for Leicestershire at the time.[10] During his youth he played for Aylestone Park Youth, later becoming the club's president.[11]
Lineker left school with four O Levels. One of his teachers wrote on his report card that he "concentrates too much on
football" and that he would "never make a living at that". He then joined the youth academy at Leicester City in 1976.[9]

Club career

Leicester City
Lineker began his career at his home town club Leicester City after leaving school in 1977, turning professional in the 1978–
79 season and making his senior debut on New Year's Day 1979 in a 2–0 win over Oldham Athletic in the Second Division at
Filbert Street. He earned a Second Division title medal a year later with 19 appearances, but played just nine league games in
1980–81 as Leicester went straight back down.

However, he became a regular player in 1981–82, scoring 19 goals in all competitions that season. Although Leicester missed
out on promotion, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and clinched promotion a year later as Lineker scored 26 times
in the Second Division. In 1983–84, he enjoyed regular First Division action for the first time and was the division's second
highest scorer with 22 goals, although Leicester failed to finish anywhere near the top of the league. He was the First
Division's joint top scorer in 1984–85 with 24 goals, and was enjoying a prolific partnership with Alan Smith. However, by
this stage, he was attracting the attention of bigger clubs, and a move from Filbert Street was looking certain.

In the 1985 close season, defending league champions Everton signed Lineker for £800,000; he scored 40 goals in 57 games
for his new team in the 1985–86 season. He was again the First Division's leading goal scorer, this time with 30 goals
(including three hat-tricks), and helped Everton finish second in the league. While at Everton, they reached the FA Cup final
for the third consecutive year but lost 3–1 to Liverpool, despite Lineker giving them an early lead when he outpaced Alan
Hansen to score. Liverpool had also pipped Everton to the title by just two points. "I was only on Merseyside a short time,
nine or 10 months in total really, but it was still a happy time personally, while professionally it was one of the most successful
periods of my career," he says. "I still have an affinity towards Everton."

Lineker scored three hat-tricks for Everton; at home to Birmingham City in a 4–1 league win on 31 August 1985, at home to
Manchester City in a 4–0 home win on 11 February 1986, and then in the penultimate league game of the season on 3 May
1986, when they kept their title hopes alive with a 6–1 home win over Southampton. On his final league appearance, he
scored twice in a 3–1 home win over West Ham United whose own title hopes had just disappeared. However, he and his
colleagues were denied title glory as Liverpool also won their final league game of the season at Chelsea.[12] Lineker has
consistently stated since retiring from football that this Everton team was the best club side he ever played in.

After winning the Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Lineker was signed by Barcelona for £2.8 million. Barcelona
were being managed by former Queens Park Rangers manager Terry Venables, who had also brought in Manchester United
and Wales striker Mark Hughes. Barcelona gave Lineker his first chance of European football, as Leicester had never qualified
for Europe while he played for them, and Everton were denied a place in the European Cup for 1985–86 due to the
commencement of the ban on English clubs in European competitions following the Heysel disaster.

His Golden Boot-winning performance at the finals generated much anticipation of success at the Camp Nou, and he did not
disappoint, scoring 21 goals in 41 games during his first season, including a hat-trick in a 3–2 win over archrivals Real
Madrid.[13] Barcelona went on to win the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. Lineker played
in Barcelona's shock home and away defeats to Dundee United. Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff decided to play Lineker on
the right of the midfield and he was eventually no longer an automatic choice in the team.

With 42 goals in 103 La Liga appearances, Lineker became the highest scoring British player in the competition's history, but
was later surpassed by Gareth Bale in March 2016.[14]

Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson attempted to sign Lineker to partner his ex-Barcelona teammate Mark Hughes in
attack, but Lineker instead signed for Tottenham Hotspur in July 1989 for £1.1 million. Over three seasons, he scored 67 goals
in 105 league games and won the FA Cup while playing for the club.

He finished as top scorer in the First Division in the 1989–90 season, scoring 24 goals as Spurs finished third.

He finally collected an English trophy when he won the 1991 FA Cup Final with Spurs, who beat Nottingham Forest 2–1. This
was despite Lineker having a goal controversially disallowed for offside and also having a penalty saved by goalkeeper Mark
Crossley.[15] Lineker had contributed to Tottenham's run to the final. In the semi-final he scored twice in a 3–1 win over
North London rivals Arsenal.[16]

He was the top division's second-highest goalscorer in 1991–92 with 28 goals from 35 games, behind Ian Wright, who scored
29 times in 42 games. Despite Lineker's personal performance, Tottenham finished this final pre-Premier League season in
15th place. His last goal in English football came on the last day of the season in a 3–1 defeat to Manchester United at Old

Nagoya Grampus Eight

In November 1991, Lineker accepted an offer of a two-year contract from J1 League club Nagoya Grampus Eight. The transfer
fee paid to Tottenham Hotspur was £2 million. He officially joined Nagoya Grampus Eight after playing his final game for
Spurs on 2 May 1992, when he scored the consolation goal in a 3–1 defeat by Manchester United on the last day of the
season.[17] Shortly before accepting the offer from Nagoya Grampus Eight, Tottenham had rejected an offer from ambitious
Second Division club Blackburn Rovers, who had recently been taken over by steel baron Jack Walker.[18]

Having scored 9 goals in 23 appearances over two injury impacted[19] seasons for Nagoya Grampus Eight, he announced his
retirement from playing in September 1994. The English national media had previously reported that he would be returning
to England to complete his playing career at Middlesbrough or Southampton.[20]

International career
Lineker was capped once by the England B national team, playing in a 2–0 home win over New Zealand's B team on 13
November 1984.[21] He first played for the full England team against Scotland in 1984. He played five games in the 1986
World Cup and was top scorer of the tournament with six goals, winning the Golden Boot, making him the first English player
to have done so. He scored the second quickest hat-trick ever at a FIFA World Cup tournament against Poland, the second
English player to score a hat-trick at a World Cup, and scored two goals against Paraguay in the second round. He played
most of the tournament wearing a lightweight cast on his forearm. He scored for England in the World Cup quarter-final
against Argentina, but the game ended in defeat as Diego Maradona scored twice for the opposition (the first goal being the
"Hand of God" handball, and the second being the "Goal of the Century").

In 1988, Lineker played in Euro 88, but failed to score as England lost all three Group games. It was later established that he
had been suffering from hepatitis.[22][23]
In the 1990 World Cup, he scored four goals to help England reach the semi-finals after a string of draws and narrow
victories. He was unwell during the tournament, and accidentally defecated during the opening group game against the
Republic of Ireland.[24] After Andreas Brehme sent England 1–0 down in the semi-final, Lineker received a pass from Paul
Parker and escaped two West German defenders on his way to scoring the equaliser, but the West Germans triumphed in the
penalty shoot-out and went on to win the trophy. Later he said: "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90
minutes and at the end, the Germans win."[25]

He retired from international football with eighty caps and forty-eight goals, one fewer goal than Sir Bobby Charlton's
England record (which Charlton accrued over 106 caps). In what proved to be his last England match, against Sweden at Euro
92, he was substituted by England coach Graham Taylor in favour of Arsenal striker Alan Smith, ultimately denying him the
chance to equal—or even better—Charlton's record.[26] He had earlier missed a penalty that would have brought him level, in
a pre-tournament friendly against Brazil.[27] He was visibly upset at the decision, not looking at Taylor as he took the bench.

He scored four goals in an England match on two occasions and is one of very few players never to have been given a yellow
card or a red card in any type of game.[28]

Media career
Following retirement from professional football, he developed a career in the media, initially on BBC Radio 5 Live and as a
football pundit before replacing Des Lynam as the BBC's anchorman for football coverage, including their 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. Following the departure of Steve Rider from the BBC, Lineker, who is a keen recreational golfer with a handicap of
four, became the new presenter for the BBC's golf coverage. Also, he presented Grandstand in the London studio while then-
presenter Desmond Lynam was in Aintree when the Grand National was abandoned because of a bomb alert at the racecourse
in 1997. Despite receiving some criticism from his peers,[5] he continued to front the BBC's coverage of the Masters and The
Open, where he put his language skills to good use by giving an impromptu interview in Spanish with Argentinian Andrés

He also appeared in the 1991 play An Evening with Gary Lineker by Arthur Smith and Chris England, which was adapted for
television in 1994.

He presented a six-part TV series for the BBC in 1998 (directed by Lloyd Stanton) called Golden Boots,[30] with other football
celebrities. It was an extensive history of the World Cup focusing on the 'Golden Boots' (top scorers).

In 2001, Lineker appeared in the TV show Brass Eye (episode "Paedogeddon").[31]

In 2002, Lineker had a cameo appearance in the film Bend It Like Beckham.

In 2005, Lineker was sued for defamation by Australian footballer Harry Kewell over comments Lineker had made writing in
his column in The Sunday Telegraph about Kewell's transfer from Leeds United to Liverpool. However, the jury was unable
to reach a verdict. It transpired in the case that the article had actually been ghost-written by a journalist at the Sunday
Telegraph following a telephone interview with Lineker.[32]

In 2006, Lineker took on an acting role as the voice of Underground Ernie on the BBC's children's channel, CBeebies.[33]

In December 2008, Lineker appeared on the ITV1 television programme Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? where he and
English rugby union player Austin Healey won £50,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

In 2009, Lineker and his wife Danielle hosted a series of the BBC's Northern Exposure, following on from Laurence
Llewelyn-Bowen from the previous year in visiting and showcasing locations throughout Northern Ireland.[34]
In May 2010, Lineker resigned from his role as columnist for The Mail on Sunday in protest over the sting operation against
Lord Triesman that reportedly jeopardised England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Triesman resigned as chairman of the
bid and the FA on 16 May 2010 after the publication of a secret recording of a conversation between the peer and a former
ministerial aide, during which he claimed that Spain and Russia were planning to bribe referees at the World Cup in South
Africa.[35] Lineker then began working as an anchor for the English language football coverage for Al Jazeera Sport, which is
broadcast throughout most of the Middle East. He left the Qatar-based network in 2012.

In 2013, Lineker began working for NBCSN as part of their Premier League coverage, and contributing to the US version of
Match of the Day.[36]

On 9 June 2015, Lineker was unveiled as the lead presenter of BT Sport's Champions League coverage.

On 13 August 2016, Lineker presented the first Match of the Day of the 2016–17 season wearing only boxer shorts.[37] He had
promised in a tweet from December 2015[38] that, if Leicester City won the Premier League, he would "present Match of the
Day in just my undies".

On 18 October 2016, Lineker tweeted a rebuttal to a statement made by MP David Davies where Davies suggested refugees
entering the UK should undergo dental checks to verify their age.[39] Lineker posted "The treatment by some towards these
young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What's happening to our country?"[40] This led The Sun to call for
Lineker's sacking from Match of the Day, claiming that he had breached BBC impartiality guidelines.[41] Lineker described
the controversy as "a spanking" but continued to advocate for refugees.[42]

In July 2018, Lineker announced his support for People's Vote a campaign group calling for a public vote on the final Brexit
deal between the UK and the European Union.[43]

Walkers advertisements
Lineker has appeared in a number of adverts for the Leicester-based snack company Walkers since 1994, originally signing a
£200,000 deal.[44] Walkers temporarily named their salt and vinegar crisps after Lineker, labelling them 'Salt & Lineker', in
the late 1990s.[45]

Goalhanger Films
In May 2014, Lineker established his own production company Goalhanger Films Ltd. with former ITV Controller Tony
Pastor.[46] During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Lineker presented several short videos produced by Goalhanger Films on
YouTube with the title Blahzil.

In May 2015, the company produced a 60-minute-long documentary presented by Lineker titled Gary Lineker on the Road to
FA Cup Glory for the BBC.[47]

Personal life
Lineker married Michelle Cockayne in 1986. In May 2006, Michelle filed for divorce on the grounds of Gary's alleged
"unreasonable behaviour," with documents submitted to the court claiming that Lineker's actions in their marriage had
caused her "stress and anxiety." Lineker and Michelle have four sons, George, Harry, Tobias and Angus. The couple
subsequently stated that the situation was amicable.[48]

In the early 1990s, George, Lineker's eldest son, survived a rare form of leukaemia whilst he was a baby, treated at Great
Ormond Street Hospital in London[5] Lineker now supports children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and has appeared in
promotional clips encouraging people to give blood. Lineker has been actively involved with other cancer charities such as
Leukaemia Busters, where between 1994 and 2005 Gary and Michelle were the charity's patrons.[49][50] He has also been
involved with the Fight for Life and Cancer Research UK charities.[51][52]

Lineker was made a freeman of the City of Leicester in 1995 and he has been referred to as "Leicester's favourite son".[53][54]

In October 2002, Lineker backed a £5 million bid to rescue his former club Leicester City, which had recently gone into
administration, describing his involvement as "charity" rather than an "ego trip."[55] He stated that he would invest a six-
figure sum and that other members of his consortium would invest a similar amount.[56] Lineker met with fans' groups to
persuade them to try and raise money to rescue his former club. The club was eventually saved from liquidation. Lineker is
now honorary Vice President of Leicester City F.C.

Lineker married Danielle Bux on 2 September 2009, in Ravello, Italy. They went on to win £30,000 for charity on ITV's
gameshow Mr and Mrs.[57] On 13 January 2016, Lineker and Bux announced they were divorcing, after six years of
marriage,[58] the reason given being Gary not wanting more children.[58]

In 2013, Lineker participated in the genealogical programme Who Do You Think You Are? during which he discovered an
ancestor who was a poacher, and another who was a legal clerk.[59]

In November 2017, Lineker was named in the Paradise Papers in connection with a tax avoidance scheme relating to property
owned in Barbados and a company set-up in the British Virgin Islands.[60]

Career statistics

League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1978–79 Second 7 1 — — — 7 1
1979–80 Division 19 3 1 0 — — 20 3
1980–81 9 2 1 1 — — 10 3
1981–82 City Second 39 17 5 2 3 0 — 47 19
1982–83 Division 40 26 1 0 2 0 — 43 26
1983–84 First 39 22 1 0 1 0 — 41 22
1984–85 Division 41 24 4 3 3 2 — 48 29
1985–86 Everton 41 30 6 5 5 3 — 52 38
Copa de la
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
1986–87 41 20 1 1 — 8 0 50 21
1987–88 Barcelona La Liga 36 16 5 2 — 8 2 49 20
1988–89 26 6 4 1 — 8 4 38 11
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1989–90 38 24 1 0 6 2 — 45 26
Tottenham First
1990–91 32 15 6 3 5 1 — 43 19
Hotspur Division
1991–92 35 28 2 0 5 5 8 2 50 35
Japan League J.League Cup Asia Total

1993 Nagoya 7 1 0 0 5 4 — 12 5
1994 Eight 11 3 0 0 1 0 — 12 3

England 340 192 28 14 30 13 8 2 406 221

Country Spain 103 42 10 4 — 24 6 137 52
Japan 18 4 0 0 6 4 — 24 8
Total 461 238 38 18 36 17 32 8 567 281

England national team
Year Apps Goals
1984 1 0
1985 9 6
1986 10 8
1987 7 9
1988 10 3
1989 9 3
1990 15 8
1991 11 9
1992 8 2
Total 80 48

International goals

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.

# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
26 March
1 Wembley Stadium Republic of Ireland 2–1 Friendly 1
16 June Los Angeles Memorial
2, 3 United States 5–0 Friendly 2
1985 Coliseum
16 October Turkey 1986 World
4, 5, 6 Wembley Stadium 5–0 3
1985 Cup qualifier
Estadio Tecnológico, Poland 1986 World
7, 8, 9 11 June 1986 3–0 3
Monterrey Cup
18 June 1986 World
10, 11 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City Paraguay 3–0 2
1986 Cup
22 June Argentina 1986 World
12 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City 1–2 1
1986 Cup
15 October Euro 1988
13, 14 Wembley Stadium Northern Ireland 3–0 2
1986 qualifier
15, 16, 18 February Spain
Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid 4–2 Friendly 4
17, 18 1987

Brazil Friendly (Rous

19 19 May 1987 Wembley Stadium 1–1 1
9 September West Germany
20 Rheinstadion, Düsseldorf 1–3 Friendly 1
21, 22, 14 October Turkey Euro 1988
Wembley Stadium 8–0 3
23 1987 qualifier

Colombia Friendly (Rous

24 24 May 1988 Wembley Stadium 1–1 1
23 March Netherlands
25 Wembley Stadium 2–2 Friendly 1
Stade Olympique de la Switzerland
26 28 May 1988 1–0 Friendly 1
Pontaise, Lausanne

Albania 1990 World

27 26 April 1989 Wembley Stadium 5–0 1
Cup qualifier

Poland 1990 World

28 3 June 1989 Wembley Stadium 3–0 1
Cup qualifier
Parken Stadium, Denmark
29 7 July 1989 1–1 Friendly 1
28 March Brazil
30 Wembley Stadium 1–0 Friendly 1

31 15 May 1990 Wembley Stadium Denmark 1–0 Friendly 1

1990 World
32 11 June 1990 Stadio Sant'Elia, Cagliari Republic of Ireland 1–1 1

Cameroon 1990 World

33, 34 1 July 1990 Stadio San Paolo, Naples 3–2 2

West Germany 1990 World

35 4 July 1990 Stadio delle Alpi, Turin 1–1p 1
36 September Wembley Stadium Hungary 1–0 Friendly 1
37 17 October Wembley Stadium Poland 2–0 Euro 1992 1
1990 qualifier
6 February Cameroon
38, 39 Wembley Stadium 2–0 Friendly 2
40 26 July 1991 Wembley Stadium Argentina 2–2 (England 1
Challenge Cup)
Mt Smart Stadium,
41 3 June 1991 New Zealand 1–0 Friendly 1
42, 43, 12 June Stadium Merdeka, Kuala
Malaysia 4–2 Friendly 4
44, 45 1991 Lumpur
13 November Poland Euro 1992
46 Stadion Miejski, Poznań 1–1 1
1991 qualifier
19 February France
47 Wembley Stadium 2–0 Friendly 1

48 29 April 1992 Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow CIS 2–2 Friendly 1



Leicester City

Football League Second Division: 1980


FA Charity Shield: 1985


Copa del Rey: 1988

European Cup Winners' Cup: 1989

Tottenham Hotspur

FA Cup: 1991



FIFA World Cup fourth place: 1990

English Second Division Top Scorer: 1982–83[62]
English First Division Top Scorer: 1984–85, 1985–86, 1989–90
PFA Players' Player of the Year: 1985–86
FWA Footballer of the Year: 1985–86, 1991–92
FIFA World Cup Golden Boot: 1986
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1986
Onze de Bronze: 1986
Ballon d'Or: Runner-up 1986
FIFA Fair Play Award: 1990
FWA Tribute Award: 1997
FIFA World Player of the Year: Bronze award 1991[63]
FIFA 100
English Football Hall of Fame: 2003[64]
PFA Team of the Century (1977–1996): 2007[65]

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Further reading
Malam, Colin (1993). Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different. London: Stanley Paul. ISBN 0-09-175424-0.

External links
Gary Lineker (https://www.national-football-teams.com/player/14223.html) at National-Football-Teams.com
Gary Lineker (https://www.soccerbase.com/players/player.sd?player_id=4536) at Soccerbase
Gary Lineker (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0512633/) on IMDb
Gary Lineker (https://data.j-league.or.jp/SFIX04/?player_id=289) at J.League (in Japanese)
Lineker`s first goal in Jleague (https://www.jleague.jp/video/detail/1785/)-Jleague official

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