Rio Ferdinand praises Gary Lineker as he calls time on hosting BT Sport Champions League coverage

Rio Ferdinand pays tribute to ‘nothing but majestic’ Gary Lineker as BT Sport presenter calls time on hosting their Champions League coverage to watch Leicester in Europe with his sons

  • Lineker will step down as BT host of European coverage after six years in the role 
  • His beloved Foxes have qualified for the Europa League for the 2021-22 season 
  • The Champions League final between Chelsea and Man City was his ‘final final’
  • Kai Havertz’ first-half goal decided a hard-fought final between the two sides 

Rio Ferdinand has paid tribute to Gary Lineker as the presenter concluded his time hosting BT Sport’s Champions League coverage after the European final on Saturday evening.

Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League triumph against Manchester City in Porto was Lineker’s last time leading BT’s European coverage, as he has announced he will step down from that role so he can watch his club Leicester in Europe with his sons.

And iconic former Manchester United defender – and fellow BT pundit on the evening – Rio Ferdinand gave a heartfelt tribute to Lineker for his work during his spell as host.

Rio Ferdinand (second left) paid tribute to departing BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker (left)

Rio Ferdinand (second left) paid tribute to departing BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker (left)

He said after the match: ‘Listen, before we end, I just have to say on behalf of everyone at BT, on behalf of everyone out here that it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you Gary.

‘I know this is your last appearance here at BT with the Champions League but you’ve been nothing but majestic in all the time I’ve been working here and I have to thank you personally for helping me in my transition in terms of punditry.

‘So, on behalf of everyone at BT – and don’t cry! – thank you very much.’ 

Lineker, who responded with this picture, is leaving to watch Leicester in Europe next season

Lineker, who responded with this picture, is leaving to watch Leicester in Europe next season

Lineker, who responded with this picture, is leaving to watch Leicester in Europe next season

As well as responding to Ferdinand live, Lineker also tweeted a response late on Saturday evening.

He tweeted: ‘Thank you to so many of you for all your incredibly kind words. It’s pretty overwhelming and means the world. The final final.’

Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes side finished fifth in the Premier League, therefore qualifying for the Europa League next season – which proved too much of a pull for Leicester fan Lineker to miss. 

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