Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli shares his true feelings for Gary Lineker
Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli has told how he took a shine to Gary Lineker while training him to dance for an advert.
The flamboyant Italian poured out his heart during an interview with Piers Morgan, declaring "I did fancy him" when questioned about working with the former Leicester City striker.
The two were talking on Life Stories, shown on ITV last night.
Dancer Bruno also claimed he touched Gary's bottom when the pair worked together on a Walkers Crisps ad, featuring the soundtrack to It's Raining Men, in 2010.
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During last night's interview, presenter Piers said: "Gary told us that he thought you fancied him."
"I did fancy him," replied the 57-year-old choreographer. "I touched his bum immediately, but that's an Italian thing.
"There's nothing dirty about it, there's just a feeling of feeling somebody close to you."
Piers asked Bruno whether he thought Gary felt the same. "I don't think so," said the Strictly celeb.
Bruno taught the Foxes legend some fancy footwork for the advert, which saw Gary, 52, perform various moves – but admitted he was not the most graceful dancer.
"Basically, he bangs against the wall very well and I made him do a big back bend," he said.
"He could do certain moves but not the really big long moves you need to be a trained dancer."
The pair also shared a television studio when Match of the Day and Strictly were both filmed at the BBC studios in London.
However, in 2011, Gary and the long-running football show were relocated to Salford.
Gary's spokesman John Holmes said last night's banter was all just a bit of fun.
"Ha ha... yeah, we've heard all that before," he said. "Apparently, Bruno was devastated when Match of the Day was moved to Manchester!"
Former Mirror editor Piers, 47, also tweeted Gary about the show, asking him: "Want me to play Cupid?"
The pair have had a tumultuous Twitter relationship, regularly barracking each other on the social networking site, with the ex-England forward referring to Piers as "Tubs", and the journalist recently hitting back with a joke about the size of Gary's ears.
Gary is not the first local celeb Bruno has had a crush on.
McFly drummer and 2011 Strictly winner Harry Judd also received praise from the judge after a sizzling performance with his dance partner, Aliona Vilani.
Bruno bestowed a generous 10 and his comments – "you've never been stronger, you've never been more attractive" – made former Uppingham School pupil Harry blush.