Kyle Walker: Champions League final will be chess decided by big players
Kyle Walker expects the Champions League final to be a close game, settled by “great players at great times”.
The Manchester City right-back will make his first appearance in European club football’s flagship fixture as the Premier League champions face Chelsea in Porto on Saturday.
The teams have faced each other three times in 2021, with Chelsea winning two of those encounters in the past six weeks, and Walker believes it is an intriguing encounter.
England international Walker said: “Knowing them and playing them as many times as we’ve played them is going to be a bit of a game of chess.
“I think it comes down to great players in great times and special times, and I hope we have enough of those players to go and capture those special moments.
“Chelsea are good opponents. They’ve got the better of us a few times this season, so we owe them one. It’s going to be a tough game and we have to come out on top. “
Walker is hoping to win a run of medals having already won three Premier League titles, four League Cups and the FA Cup since joining City from Tottenham in 2017.
The 31-year-old said: “It’s the only trophy I miss. Since being here I have managed to get back everything I have been involved in except the Champions League.
“I think it’s probably the pinnacle of club football. Playing a Champions League final is something you dream of as a child.
“Just hearing this anthem and walking past the trophy is going to be a very, very special moment. I’ve never seen it so I’ll take a good look and hopefully hold it at the end of the game.
“But I don’t want to sit here and sound arrogant or anything like that.” It will be a really, really tough game.
Fellow defender John Stones also admits he can barely contain himself as he prepares for the occasion.
The center-back said: “I want the day to come quickly. It’s just pure excitement. It’s something we’ve never experienced before and something so exciting for us and our families, and all the fans who can show up now.
“It’s something that we really want to get into our best moment to try to make club history, make history as players and try to break this cycle of not being there in the Champions League. Now we are and we have this chance to win it.
Stones have had a great season after being rejuvenated playing alongside new signing Ruben Dias. He attributes much to the influence of manager Pep Guardiola and he now wants to repay the City boss.
The 27-year-old said: “What he has done for me and what he has taught me on the pitch is something that I hope I can only pay back through my performances.
“For everyone at the club, what he’s brought to Manchester City over the past five years is incredible – the number of trophies, the memories.
“He’s important on and off the pitch and I’m sure he’s dying to get his hands on this one for sure.”