The Rio Report

AWKWARD! Lineker addresses elephant in room with cheeky quip

The Rio Report

BBC presenter Gary Lineker goaded his two co-stars, Ruud Gullit and Alan Shearer, by bringing up a touchy subject...their tumultuous past.

As Germany led Didier Deschamps’ France side 1-0 during half time of their World Cup quarter-final, former England striker Lineker took it upon himself to engage in a bit of ‘banter’ by divulging in his co-stars’ difficult former relationship.

Sitting opposite Lineker were Gullit and Shearer, who were part of the same Newcastle side during their infamous 1998-99 Premier League season – the Dutchman in charge of the Magpies, with Shearer their talismanic striker.

And it was during one particular fixture that season which Lineker cheekily alluded to.

Complimenting Deschamps’s management skills in having the nerve to drop big-name players, Lineker asked whether Gullit had done such a thing during his managerial career.

The cheeky presenter was, of course, hinting to a time when the Dutchman dropped Shearer for a huge derby against fierce rivals Sunderland - a decision which was, unsurprisingly, met with huge outrage and controversy.

As TV viewers across the country held their collective breath, unsure as to what the reaction would be from both men, an awkward pause was followed - thankfully for everyone - by raucous laughter.

Recalling the matter, the pair fell about laughing, both red-faced, but the awkwardness could not have been avoided. How would they have both reacted had the cameras not been on them?

It's not the first time that Lineker has engaged his pundits in a tricky reflection at an event in the past.

Earlier in the tournament, Lineker addressed France legend Thierry Henry by asking him: "Ever get away with a handball, Thierry?"

The implication, of course, was a reference to Henry’s handball against Ireland in their World Cup play-off in 2009 that in some eyes cost the Irish their place at the finals.

Sauvé as ever, Henry laughed off the comment with a “no, never”.

However, the damage had been done – cue a raft of expletive laden social media posts from the Emerald Isle.

Ah well, Lineker is all the more popular with most for his cheeky antics and dry humour in fronting the BBC's World Cup coverage.

Who will he target next on the seemingly safe but ever awkward BBC sofa?

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