City completed a historic treble but were made to work hard by Inter as it took a second-half goal from Rodri to finally put them ahead at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, before goalkeeper Ederson made a couple of wonder saves and the Italians hit the crossbar in pursuit of an equaliser.
Pep Guardiola’s side eventually did get over the line however and a first Champions League trophy in the club’s history completed the holy grail, to add to their Champions League and FA Cup triumphs this term.
Walker has been a key cog in the winning machine, most notably making a brilliant recovery tackle on Vinicius Jr at a key stage of City’s revenge win over Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.
However, he was dropped for the final itself – although he was substituted on late in the game to help see it over the line – but, as a member of Guardiola’s leadership group, still delivered a message in the dressing room before the final. And he has revealed the six crucial words he said to inspire his teammates.
The England defender told BT Sport after the game: “I said ‘my dream is in your hands’. It's as simple as that. There's no pressure!”
Walker also described his emotions at winning the treble and how they interacted with his inevitable disappointment at not being selected to start the final.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 10, 2023
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “I’m very rarely speechless but my dream has come true, to achieve this with this club. For everything they’ve done for every single one of us over the years. To achieve a treble is unbelievable.
“It’s about being a leader. I’m always going to be disappointed when I’m not playing but I’m 33 now. My example sets on to the younger lads. I made a speech before they went out. I was true to my words - it was emotional but this club means so much to me. To experience what I’ve experienced in football, I’m forever in debt.
“You can’t say Inter deserved it more than we did or we deserved it more than they did. We’re both here by merit. Commiserations to them but there has to be a loser.
“I said to the lads, we have to leave everything on that pitch. We can't work as hard as we have done all season to throw it away. I thought the lads dug deep tonight.”
Walker said the victory was all the more special given that City had lost to Chelsea in the 2021 Champions League final and that he was able to share it with his family in Istanbul.
“Emotions played a part,” he explained. “The occasion is obviously going to get to you. I got a silver one [medal] last time so to get a gold one is fantastic.
“I’m living the dream. My mum and dad are in the stands. From where I come from in Sheffield, it’s not easy. For them to be here, to experience my memories with them. I remember when my mum didn’t have a pound for the ice cream van. To have this with them, I’m so thankful.”
And with an inevitably huge party following the sealing of the treble, the 33-year-old laid out his intentions to enjoy the celebrations.
He laughed: "I’ll drink anything in front of me. Put any drink in front of me, I'm destroying it!"