Gary Lineker forced to apologise after controversial comment about Man Utd star

Gary Lineker
-Credit: (Image: TheRestisFootball/Youtube)

Gary Lineker found himself in hot water with Manchester United fans after making a joke about former player Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The Dutchman scored an impressive 150 goals in just 219 games during his five-year stint at Old Trafford, and was not amused by Lineker's quip on a past episode of Match of the Day, reports The Mirror.

The story was recounted on The Rest is Football podcast, where Lineker was discussing memorable nicknames for ex-players and colleagues with Alan Shearer. He recalled the controversy that arose after he made a comment about Van Nistelrooy's physical appearance.

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"Talking about long-faced ones, the one time I got into a bit of controversy [about] something I said on telly," he said. "Do you remember Ruud van Nistelrooy had a long [face], you know those post-match interviews that we show just before we come onto analysis, he came on and in this particular shot, it looked like [he had] the head of a horse."

Lineker went on to reveal the backlash he faced from United supporters following his jest at the former striker's expense. "They just won a game and he didn't seem very happy so I just said 'come on Ruud, why the long face', and I got so much stick from Man United fans, I apologised," he remarked.

Photo showing Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Ruud Van Nistelrooy didn't appreciate Gary Lineker's quip -Credit:Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images

After hanging up his boots in 2012, Van Nistelrooy took up coaching and experienced a successful stint with PSV Eindhoven, leading them to the KNVB Cup prior to his departure in 2023 due to perceived lack of support.

He recently confessed his appetite for taking on a coaching role in Spain, as well as the Premier League. "I would really like to work in Spain, and I have had conversations with Spanish clubs," he divulged during an interview with Spanish publication Diario AS.

"But also the other leagues in which I have played, I want to coach there too. In the Premier League, and the Bundesliga."