Arsenal legend and former French international footballer Thierry Henry is to line up alongside Manchester United defender and ex-England star Rio Ferdinand as part of the BBC’s World Cup TV punditry team.
The pair, who have faced one another numerous times in both the Premier League and on the world stage, will join frontman Gary Lineker and AC Milan coach and former Dutch international Clarence Seedorf as part of the BBC’s coverage of 31 live televised matches from the tournament, which kicks off in Brazil on Thursday 15 June.
Among Henry and Ferdinand’s meetings in the English top flight have been several testy clashes between Arsenal and Manchester United, including the infamous Battle of Old Trafford in 2003. And while BBC Sport bosses will be hoping the pair can put their on-field differences behind them in the commentary box, fans might well enjoy the extra frisson their history could bring.
As Henry and Ferdinand tackle the TV coverage, Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis and Tottenham Hotspur and former USA goalkeeper Brad Friedel will provide analysis as part of the Radio 5 live team, along with Celtic manager and former Northern Ireland midfielder Neil Lennon, who will have a combined role across TV and radio.
The new signings join a roster of former internationals working for the BBC during the World Cup. Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer, Chris Waddle, Martin Keown, Kevin Kilbane, Mark Lawrenson, Danny Mills, Danny Murphy, Phil Neville, Robbie Savage, Pat Nevin, Jason Roberts and John Hartson will all be involved, with the tournament marking Hansen’s last outing as a BBC pundit before he retires from his Match of the Day role after 22 years.