Rio Ferdinand paid tribute to the “majestic” Gary Lineker as he hosted his final European night with BT Sport.
The former Manchester United and England defender gave a personal thank you to the Leicester City icon as they wrapped up their coverage of Saturday night’s Champions League final, Chelsea beating Manchester City 1-0 in Porto.
Lineker has announced he is stepping down from BT Sport’s European coverage after six years in order to spend more time enjoying himself, and plans to follow City around the continent next season as they bid for Europa League glory.
Just as Lineker was about to do his final link, Ferdinand thanked the presenter for helping him move from a professional playing career into punditry and analysis.
“I know this is your last appearance here on BT with the Champions League but you’ve been nothing but majestic in all the time I’ve been working here,” Ferdinand said.
“And I’d like to thank you personally for helping me in my transition in terms of punditry. So, on behalf of everyone at BT… don’t cry!”
In response, Lineker said he hoped he would be attending another European final in a year from now, watching from the stands as City contest the Europa League showpiece in Seville.
“It’s been an absolute delight, I’ve loved every minute,” an emotional Lineker said.
“The six years we started together, the two of you (Ferdinand and Joe Cole), a particular thank you to you.
“All the pundits have been brilliant, all of you behind the cameras, thank you so much, and back in the offices, back wherever you are, everyone’s just been so helpful.
“It’s been a wonderful experience and I’m going to have a lot of fun next season following Leicester around Europe. Perhaps they’ll end up in a final, not the Champions League final, but maybe the Europa League final.”
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