Andy Hampson, PA
Kyle Walker expects the Champions League final to be a tight game settled by “big players in big moments”.
The Manchester City right-back is set to play in European club football’s showpiece match for the first time as the Premier League champions face Chelsea in Porto on Saturday.
The sides have faced each other three times already in 2021, with Chelsea winning two of those meetings in the last six weeks, and Walker thinks that makes for an intriguing encounter.
England international Walker said: “Knowing them and playing them as many times as we have played them, it’s going to be a little bit of a chess game.
“I think it comes down to big players in big moments and special moments, and hopefully we have enough of those players to go and grab those special moments.
“Chelsea are good opponents. They’ve had the upper hand on us a few times this season, so we do owe them one. It’s going to be a tough game that we need to come out on top (of).”
Walker is hoping to complete a set 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 one trophy I’m missing. Since I’ve been here I’ve managed to pick up everything that I’ve been involved in bar the Champions League.
“I think it’s probably the pinnacle of club football. To play in a Champions League final is something that you dream about as a child.
“Just hearing that 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, I’ll be holding it come the end of the game.
“But I don’t want to sit here and sound cocky or anything like that. It’s going to be a really, really tough game.”
Fellow defender John Stones also admits he can barely contain himself as he prepares for the occasion.
The centre-back said: “I want the day to come fast. It’s just pure excitement. It is something that we have never experienced before and something so exciting for us and our families, and all the fans that are able to turn up now.
“It is something we really we want to go into in our best moment to try and make history for the club, make history as players and try to break this cycle of us not being there in the Champions League. Now we are and we have got that chance to win it.”
Stones has enjoyed a fine season having been rejuvenated playing alongside new signing Ruben Dias. He puts a lot of it down 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 has been something I hope I can only repay with my performances.
“For everyone in the club, what he has brought to Manchester City over these five years is incredible – the amount of trophies, the memories.
“He is important on and off the pitch and I am sure he is dying to get his hands on this one for sure.”