Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 in Porto to end their campaign on the most positive note of all, in what had already been confirmed as Lineker’s final match with the organisation.
The former England striker had announced he wanted to spend next season following his club Leicester City around on their European adventure, after they secured a Europa League spot thanks to an FA Cup win and ultimately a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.
At the end of the broadcast of the final, Rio Ferdinand thanked Lineker for aiding his own new career in the studio rather than on the pitch and offered the gratitude of everyone else at BT Sport.
“I know this is your last appearance here on BT with the Champions League but you’ve been nothing but majestic in all the time I’ve been working here,” the former defender said.
“And I’d like to thank you personally for helping me in my transition in terms of punditry. So, on behalf of everyone at BT… don’t cry!”
Lineker, in turn, thanked all those who had been a part of the journey across his time with the broadcaster, particularly Ferdinand but also referencing the other former players present on the night, Joleon Lescott and Joe Cole, along with the host of other pundits who have featured.
“It’s been an absolute delight, I’ve loved every minute,” he said.
“The six years we started together, the two of you, particular thanks you to you.
“All the pundits have been brilliant, all of you behind the cameras, thank you so much, and back in the offices, back wherever you are, everyone’s just been so helpful.
“It’s been a wonderful experience and I’m going to have a lot of fun next season following Leicester around Europe. Perhaps they’ll end up in a final, not the Champions League final, but maybe the Europa League final.
“Thanks, Rio, thanks very much. It’s been an absolute delight working with you. And Joe, many congratulations for tonight, this is your night, not mine.”
Leicester reached the Europa League last 32 this season, losing to Slavia Prague.