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The Ambassador: Gary Lineker

Former England striker Gary Lineker scored 25 goals at the old Wembley and is an appropriate choice as ambassador for the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League final at the rebuilt stadium.

Date of birth: 30 November 1960
Nationality: English
Playing career: Leicester City FC, Everton, FC Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Nagoya Grampus

The scorer of 25 goals at the old Wembley, Gary Lineker will act as the UEFA Champions League final ambassador for next May's showpiece at the new Wembley.

Lineker is an icon of English football, having fired 48 goals in 80 appearances for his country before becoming the face of BBC television's football coverage. Second only to Sir Bobby Charlton in the pantheon of England goalscorers, he is similarly recognised as one of the game's gentlemen after a career in which he was never booked.

He began his playing days with his hometown club Leicester City FC, where he made his debut in 1979 and helped them win promotion back to the top flight four years later. Lineker made 194 league appearances in total for Leicester and helped himself to 95 goals – including 24 as he finished joint top scorer of the old English First Division in 1984/85.

In 1985, he joined Everton and in a memorable season at Goodison Park struck 40 times – 30 of those goals coming in the league as he finished top scorer again. He also found the net in the FA Cup final but, as in the league, Everton finished runners-up to rivals Liverpool FC. By way of consolation, Lineker's scoring feats earned him individual recognition in the form of the PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers' Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year awards.

On the international stage, Lineker made his England debut as a substitute against Scotland in May 1984. He struck his first goal for his country on his first start against the Republic of Ireland in 1985 and established himself as a striker of worldwide repute at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, where was top scorer with six goals – including a hat-trick against Poland.

That was one of five hat-tricks in an England shirt by Lineker, who scored more World Cup goals than any other Englishman after adding another four at the 1990 finals to help his country reach the last four. He eventually finished just one strike shy of Sir Bobby Charlton's England scoring record.

Lineker left England for Spain after the 1986 World Cup, embarking on a three-year stint at FC Barcelona that began in encouraging terms with a memorable hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Real Madrid CF during his first season. The next year, he helped Barcelona win the Copa del Rey and in 1988/89, his final year, he was in the team that lifted the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

He returned to England to join Tottenham Hotspur FC in 1989 and scored 24 times in his first season back to top the First Division scoring charts for the third time. In 1991, he helped Spurs win the FA Cup to claim his only winner's medal in English football, and the following year he collected the FWA Footballer of the Year award for the second time and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

After scoring 67 goals in 105 league games for Tottenham, Lineker finished his career in Japan with Nagoya Grampus, where he helped promote the newly established J. League. Having retired from football in 1994, he moved into television but retains an interest in the fortunes of his first club, Leicester, and in 2003 helped safeguard their future by leading a consortium that bought the then financially stricken club.

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