Arsenal legend Ian Wright will step down as Match of the Day pundit at the end of the season.
Wright, 60, made his first appearance as a player on the BBC program in 1997, and after retiring in 2000, he became a regular pundit in 2002.
Wright said the decision had “been coming for a while” and had been “accelerated” by his turning 60 last month.
“In the end, it’s time to do some different things on Saturdays,” the former England striker said.
Wright had two stints on Match of the Day, the first from 2002 before leaving in 2008, then returning in 2015. In May he appeared alongside Shaun Wright-Phillips to become the first father-son critique team to appear on the show.
“After my first show while still a player in 1997 and many memorable years, I will be retiring from BBC MOTD at the end of this season,” said Wright, who will be in MOTD2 on Sunday on BBC One at 22:30. GMT.
“I feel extremely honored to have had such an amazing performance at the most famous soccer program in the world.”
He added: “Anyone who knows my story knows how important the show has been to me since I was a young boy. MOTD is the holy grail for me. At my first ever show, I told that [presenter] Des Lynam, “This is my Graceland.” It will always be my Graceland and I will always watch it.
“I’ve come back having made great friends and so many great memories. I’m really looking forward to my final months on the show and covering what I hope will be a great title race.”
Presenter Gary Lineker books: “It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to work alongside you, Ian. One of my favorite people on the planet. Farewell, my friend.”
Philip Burney, BBC Head of Sports Content, said: “Ian has been a fantastic star player at MOTD since his first appearance more than 20 years ago. His insight, wit and warmth delighted and informed all who watched him. We will miss his unique style and presence when he passes at the end of “This season, but we will make sure we give him the send-off he deserves.”
Wright began his professional career with Crystal Palace when he was 21 in 1985 and scored 90 goals, including a brace in the 1990 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. Palace tied 3-3 but lost 1-0 in the replay.
He moved to Arsenal in 1991 for a then club record fee of £2.5 million, and went on to score 185 goals for them, becoming the club’s top scorer in September 1997 and also winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup. Cup during his time with the Gunners.
After leaving Arsenal, he had spells with West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley.
He also played 33 international matches with the England national team and scored nine goals.
Since his retirement, he has become one of television’s most popular football pundits, covering both men’s and women’s matches for the BBC and ITV.
Away from football, he appeared on a BBC program about his abusive upbringing and childhood.
In June, he was appointed an OBE in the Christmas Honors list for services to football and charity, and last month he was awarded a Freedom Medal to the City of London.
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