Kyle Walker hugged Vinicius Jnr after 'he tried to rainbow flick me'
‘He tried to rainbow flick me… I said “please don’t try that again”‘: Kyle Walker reveals his embrace with Vinicius Jnr was down to ‘not wanting to become a meme’ – and hints at Real Madrid rival using football’s dark arts
- Kyle Walker and Vinicius Jnr enjoyed an entertaining battle during the first leg
- Walker admitted that the Brazilian does ‘what he needs to’ to help his side win
- Park the bus! Real Madrid stars are left stranded on arrival at Manchester Airport
Kyle Walker revealed that the reason behind his embrace with Vinicius Junior at full-time in the Champions League semi-final first leg was because the Brazilian attempted to rainbow-flick him.
The competition down the attacking left for Real Madrid saw heavy billing as one of the most vital if Los Blancos are to get past Manchester City in the semi-finals, with Walker widely regarded among the world’s leading right backs.
And with the Brazilian forward in red hot form – and having scored a stunning goal in the first leg – much of the questioning ahead of the return fixture centred around the upcoming clash in Wednesday’s second leg.
However, following the game, the two shared a surprising embrace, with both seemingly thrilled to see their counterpart, despite the tie being only halfway to completion.
But when asked for the reasoning behind their hug, Walker revealed that there was a hidden warning from him to his opponent, before claiming that the smiles would stop come the first whistle on Wednesday night.
Kyle Walker (right) shared an embrace with Vinicius Jnr at full-time in Madrid last week
The defender claimed it was as a result of Vinicius trying to ‘rainbow flick’ him during the game
The 32-year-old was faced with numerous questions in his pre-match press conference
‘Well I went to hug him, because he tried to rainbow flick me, don’t try that, because I don’t want to become a meme.
‘No but we had a good battle, I have a lot of respect for him, it when it has been a good game, a good a battle, and at the end of it, you show your respect.
‘When the whistle goes tomorrow though, that goes out of the window, and it’s dog eat dog.’
Having already taken on the Brazilian for 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu, Walker got a good look at what is to come on Wednesday night at the Etihad.
The 22-year-old has been one of the brightest performers across Europe this season, with 23 goals and 21 assists in 53 games all season, and Walker will be hard-pressed to keep his foe quiet.
But for all his scintillating performances in the iconic white shirt this term, questions have been raised over the Brazilian’s temperament, in particular towards his tendency to go down easily.
And although the 32-year-old admitted that that Vinicius Jnr does ‘what he needs to’ for his side to succeed, the England veteran insisted that it ‘doesn’t bother me’ and that he had dealt with more difficult challenges on the pitch.
‘I wouldn’t say (he’s)provocative,’ the England star added.
The Brazilian forward starred for Los Blancos in the first leg, scoring the goal that got them off the mark
Walker compared the experience of facing Vinicius to that of defending Kylian Mbappe at the World Cup
Vinicius Jr had given Real Madrid the lead with a powerful drive from distance which beat the dive of Man City’s Ederson
The Brazilian’s strike was Real Madrid’s first shot on the Manchester City goal during the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu
‘But he is a very good player, he does what he needs to do in order to help his team.
‘I try not to get involved with players trying to wind me up, and trash-talking.
‘If he’s going down easy and asking for yellow cards, it’s part and parcel of the game. You’re gonna get it, but let’s not take his football away from him. He’s a top player.’
But he remained confident with his chances, comparing the prospect to coming up against Kylian Mbappe for France at the World Cup, who was kept quiet in the quarter-final clash in Qatar.
‘I take it as any other game, you have to show him respect.
‘Like Mbappe at the World Cup – you give them the respect they deserve. I’m representing City, the ambition for the club is massive.
‘If I can’t compete with these top players, I shouldn’t be here. I need to make sure I come against the best and can deal with the best.’
Walker and his Manchester City team-mates come into the tie the favourites, having kept the scoreline to 1-1 in Madrid.
Kevin De Bruyne scored a long-range screamer in Man City’s clash with Real Madrid
Erling Haaland (red and black) and Antonio Rudiger (white) enjoyed another fearsome duel on the night
Man City dominated possession in the first leg according to SofaScore but Real Madrid ended the match with more shots
Vinicius Jnr had opened the scoring in emphatic fashion in the first half, with the visitors having dominated proceedings despite going a goal behind just after the half hour mark.
The second half saw City finally breakthrough the resolute Real defence, with star playmaker Kevin de Bruyne firing his side level from range, with the sides now set to reacquaint themselves at the Etihad on level pegging.
Much of the build-up had concentrated on how Real would keep record-breaking striker Erling Haaland quiet on the night, but Antonio Rudiger dealt with the Norwegian admirably, with the two now set for round two on Wednesday.
Los Blancos famously knocked Pep Guardiola’s side out at the last-four stage in 2021-22, with Rodrygo’s brace in stoppage time and a Karim Benzema penalty in extra time sealing a 6-5 aggregate win for the Spanish titans.
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