'Please don't try that again!' - Kyle Walker explains why he hugged Vinicius Junior despite him trying cheeky rainbow flick as Man City star feared 'becoming a meme'
- Walker said he did not want to be embarrassed by Vinicius
- Defender said he greatly respects the Brazilian
- Dismissed suggestions Vinicius was provocative
WHAT HAPPENED? The Man City defender explained why he embraced Vinicius Junior after a compelling battle in last week's Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid. The Brazilian opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw with a thumping strike but was otherwise kept quiet down the left flank by Walker, despite trying to flick the ball over the defender's head.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "I went to hug him because he tried to rainbow me, so it was like 'please don’t try that again'. But boxers fight and shake hands after and that is the respect I do have for him, when it is a good game, you show them that respect because they deserve it," Walker told a press conference. "He has taken a massive club like that over the line in the Champions League. Tomorrow night, if chosen, I will give him the respect he deserves after the whistle, before that it is dog eat dog."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Vinicius has been one of the most thrilling players to watch in Europe over the last few years but has developed a reputation in Spain for allegedly provoking opponents on the pitch. But Walker said he did not think Vinicius did anything wrong and his actions were all part of the game. "I wouldn’t say he's a provocative player, he's a very good player, he does what he has to to get his side over the line. I try not to get involved if someone is trash talking, I have been through things in my life that are more difficult than people trying to get a reaction on me. People going down and asking for yellow cards is part and parcel of the game."
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WHAT NEXT? City host Real Madrid in Wednesday's semi-final second leg. They then host Chelsea on Sunday with the chance to clinch the Premier League title although they could already be crowned champions the day before if Arsenal lose at Nottingham Forest.