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Ian Wright bids an emotional farewell to the BBC’s Match of the Day… while Gary Lineker calls the Arsenal legend a ‘breath of fresh air’ for the iconic highlights show.

Ian Wright bid an emotional farewell as the Arsenal legend made his final appearance as a pundit on Match of the Day after more than two decades.

Wright announced in December that he would step down from his role as a pundit on the iconic BBC show.

The former striker made his debut on the highlights show while still a player in 1997.

He became a regular pundit five years later, after retiring from football in 2000.

Wright made his final appearance on Sunday’s show, with the 60-year-old given a special cap – similar to those given to England internationals – to mark his time on the programme.

Ian Wright looked emotional in his latest appearance as Match of the Day pundit

Ian Wright looked emotional in his latest appearance as Match of the Day pundit

Wright received a special cap to mark his time working on the highlights show.

Wright received a special cap to mark his time working on the highlights show.

Another pundit, Alan Shearer, paid tribute to Wright, saying he would be missed on the show.

Another pundit, Alan Shearer, paid tribute to Wright, saying he would be missed on the show.

His final showing saw Manchester City crowned Premier League champions for a fourth consecutive year, finishing ahead of his former club Arsenal.

Wright offered his emotional final words to host Gary Lineker and fellow pundit Alan Shearer, saying the show meant “the world to me”.

“I’m going to miss you guys, I really do,” Wright said.

“This has been the best for me. Today’s match means the whole world to me, you don’t even know it.

“That’s why I have my eight, nine, 10 (tattoo), my two guys that I love so much there, people make fun of me but I love you man.”

Shearer responded by saying “We’re going to miss you on Saturday”, while Lineker praised Wright’s contribution to the program.

“It has been an absolute pleasure and pleasure working with you for so long and you are a breath of fresh air,” Lineker told Wright.

“You always have been. »

Wright made his first appearance on the show alongside then presenter Des Lynam in 1997.

Wright made his first appearance on the show alongside then presenter Des Lynam in 1997.

Wright's first appearance on the iconic series saw him share the stage with Trevor Brooking

Wright’s first appearance on the iconic series saw him share the stage with Trevor Brooking

Wright watched a montage unfold, with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta among those to pay tribute.

Wright watched a montage unfold, with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta among those to pay tribute.

A montage was also shown with further tributes from Lineker and Shearer, as well as contributions from Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and winger Bukayo Saka.

The montage showed many of Wright’s best moments on the program, as well as his first appearance in 1997 alongside then-host Des Lynam and pundit Trevor Brooking.

Wright’s children and grandchildren were also featured in the montage to congratulate him on his time on the show.

Confirming his departure in December, Wright said it was time to do “different things with my Saturdays”.

“After my debut while still a player in 1997 and many other memorable years, I will be retiring from BBC MOTD at the end of this season,” Wright wrote on X. “I feel very privileged to have had such an incredible experience.” take part in the most iconic football show in the world.

“Anyone who knows my story knows how much the show has meant to me since I was a young boy. MOTD is my holy grail. On my very first show, I said to Des Lynam, “This is my Graceland.” This will always be my Graceland and I will always watch.

I’m taking a step back after making some great friends and having a lot of good memories. This decision has been coming for a while, maybe my birthday earlier this year accelerated it a bit, but finally it’s time to do a few more different things with my Saturdays.

Wright announced in December that he would leave the series at the end of the season.

Wright announced in December that he would leave the series at the end of the season.

He was one half of the show's first father-son pundit team with Shaun Wright-Phillips.

He was one half of the show’s first father-son pundit team with Shaun Wright-Phillips.

“I’m really looking forward to spending my final months on the show and covering what I hope will be an incredible Premier League title race.”

Wright was initially a regular on Match of the Day between 2002 and 2008, before leaving the show – only to return to the studio regularly in 2015.

Last May, he became one half of the first father-son pundit team in the illustrious Match of the Day history, when he appeared alongside Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Lineker noted that Wright will be nearby next week when he works for rival broadcaster ITV during the FA Cup final.

Wright is also a regular on Stick to Football, a podcast series from Overlap.

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