Gary Lineker reveals controversial reason he’s supporting Real Madrid in the Champions League final
Posted by  badge Boss on 3 weeks ago
Real Madrid are strong favourites to win the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley (Picture: Rex Features)

has explained the controversial reason he will be supporting Real Madrid for the first time ever in tonight’s final against .

The presenter spent three years of his goal-laden career playing for Real’s deadly rivals Barcelona, before he returned to England to sign for Barcelona.

Ordinarily, Lineker would be throwing his weight behind any opponent the 14-time European Champions would be facing, but not on this occasion.

Given Dortmund’s underdog status, Lineker’s stance is particularly surprising, but the German club’s decision to confirm a controversial sponsorship deal with arms manufacturer Rheinmetall on the even of the Wembley showpiece has changed the 63-year-old’s mind.

‘First time I’ll be cheering for Real Madrid in a Champions League final,’ he wrote on X, responding to Dortmund’s statement.

Dortmund said the three-year deal with Rheinmetall includes ‘wide-reaching advertising space, marketing rights and event and hospitality arrangements in the stadium and on the club grounds’ starting from this week’s buildup for the Champions League final.

Rheinmetall is building a new plant in northern Germany to produce around 200,000 artillery shells per year as part of European efforts to increase weapons production against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Jadon Sancho will be key to Borussia Dortmund’s hopes of beating Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

‘Security and defense are fundamental cornerstones of our democracy. That is why we believe it is the right decision to take a very close look at how we protect these cornerstones,’ Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement.

‘Especially today, when we see every day how freedom must be defended in Europe. We should deal with this new normality.’

Marco Reus is one of only two survivors from the last Borussia Dortmund team that played in aChampions League final (Credits: Robert Michael / Avalon)

Focusing on matters on the pitch, meanwhile, Dortmund manager Edin Terzic wants his players to embrace their underdog tag and insists past disappointments only fuel the will to win European football’s biggest prize.

Dortmund, winners in 1997, have lifted just two German Cups and the German Supercup since their last appearance in the final 11 years ago.

The club have gained an unwanted reputation for near misses, registering an 11th record runners-up finish in the Bundesliga last year having gone into the final day knowing a win would have guaranteed the title.

Toni Kroos is set to play the last match of his Real Madrid career in the Champions League final (Credits: IMAGO / Avalon)

They return to Wembley with two survivors – Marco Reus in his final match for the club and Mats Hummels – from the team which lost in the 2013 final to Bayern Munich thanks to a goal in the 89th minute.

Terzic said they had used those players’ experiences, plus those of his backroom staff Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender who were also involved in that game, and their most Bundesliga heartbreak as part of their preparations.

‘We are always exchanging experiences and we are using these experiences from our players,’ he said. We had many chats in the last weeks and days and it is important they know how special this game is.

‘Maybe if you are a young player, as was the case in 2013, you think, ‘it is my first final and there are more to come’ but it is not easy to get into a final. The last (league) game last season is now part of our life and now part of our path to success.

‘If I am honest I don’t think this was the most beautiful chapter in my life but I think it was the most important chapter as it shows you it doesn’t matter how tough it is, stand up and go again.

‘Last year we found out how tough it can be but that doesn’t matter any more as we are here in the Champions League final and this is the beautiful part of our sport.’