Man City defender Kyle Walker has revealed he kissed Vinicius Junior after their Champions League semi-final first leg clash because the Real Madrid star tried to rainbow him.
The pair enjoyed an entertaining clash down the left flank at the Bernabeu in last week’s 1-1 draw – with both players considered one of the best in the world at their position.
At the end of the match, the two shared a surprising embrace, with both looking pleased to see their counterpart, although the tie was only halfway there.
And with Brazil striker Vinicius in fine form – and having scored a superb goal in the first leg – much of the pre-match questioning centered on another duel in Wednesday’s second leg.
When asked the reasoning behind their embrace, Walker revealed there was a hidden warning from him to his opponent, before claiming the smiles would stop at the first whistle on Wednesday night.
Kyle Walker (right) shared a hug with full-time Vinicius Jnr in Madrid last week
The defender claimed it was following Vinicius’ attempt to ‘rainbow film’ him during the game.
The 32-year-old was faced with plenty of questions during his pre-match press conference
“Well, I went and hugged him, because he tried to rainbow film 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, that’s when it was a good match, a good battle, and in the end you show your respect.
“When the whistle blows tomorrow, it goes out the window and it’s dog eat dog.”
A rainbow kick in a rare skill that involves rolling the ball over one leg, before using the other leg to scoop it over an opponent’s head. Former Barcelona superstar Ronaldinho was an avid user of the move, while PSG’s Neymar is also often seen trying to pull it off.
Having already faced the Brazilian for 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu, Walker got a good taste of what to expect on Wednesday night at the Etihad.
The 22-year-old has been one of Europe’s brightest performers this term, with 23 goals and 21 assists in 53 games all season, and Walker will find it hard to keep his opponent quiet.
But despite all his scintillating performances in the iconic white shirt this term, questions have been raised about the Brazilian’s temperament, particularly his tendency to go down easily.
And although the 32-year-old admitted Vinicius Jnr was doing ‘what he needed to’ for his team to succeed, the England veteran insisted it ‘didn’t bother me’ and that he had noted tougher challenges in the field. ground.
“I wouldn’t say (he’s) provocative,” added the England star.
The Brazilian striker featured for Los Blancos in the first leg, scoring the goal that took them off the mark
Walker compared the experience of facing Vinicius to that of defending Kylian Mbappe at the World Cup
“But he’s a very good player, he does what it takes to help his team.
“I try not to get involved with players trying to cheer me up and talking trash.
“If he goes down easy and asks for yellow cards, that’s part and parcel of the game. You’re going to get him, but let’s not take his football away from him. He’s a top player.
But he remained confident of his chances, likening the prospect to a clash with Kylian Mbappe for France at the World Cup, which was kept quiet in the quarter-final clash in Qatar.
“I take it like any other game, you have to show it respect.
“Like Mbappe at the World Cup, you give them the respect they deserve. I represent City, the ambition for the club is enormous.
“If I can’t compete with these top players, I shouldn’t be here. I have to make sure that I come up against the best and that I can face the best.
Vinicius Jr had given Real Madrid the lead with a powerful drive from distance that beat Man City’s Ederson dive
Walker and his Manchester City team-mates go into the favorites draw, having held it 1-1 away to Madrid.
Vinicius Jnr opened the scoring emphatically in the first half as the visitors dominated the proceedings despite scoring a goal behind just after the half-hour mark.
The second half saw City finally break through Real’s resolute defence, with star playmaker Kevin de Bruyne pulling his side from range, with the sides now ready to re-link with the Etihad at anchor.
Much of the preparation had focused on how Real would keep record striker Erling Haaland quiet on the night, but Antonio Rudiger treated the Norwegian admirably, with both now ready for the second round on Wednesday.
Los Blancos are famous for knocking out Pep Guardiola’s side in the last four legs in 2021-22, with Rodrygo’s stoppage-time brace and Karim Benzema’s extra-time penalty sealing a 6-game aggregate win -5 for the Spanish titans.