Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has apologized to his former manager Maurizio Sarri over the 2019 Carabao Cup incident.
During the 2019 League Cup Final against Manchester City, Kepa was injured and concerning that Sarri asked him to rest called Willy Caballero to substitute for the upcoming penalty. However, Kepa ignored his manager’s calls and remain on the field, going on to save one penalty as Chelsea lost 4-3 in the shoot-out.
The Spaniard has now publicly issued an apology putting his side of the story. Speaking to The Player’s Tribune Kepa explained: “Let’s just deal with that here at once and for all. It was all a big misunderstanding.”
“Manchester City were dominating the game in extra time and there was barely any time left until penalties. After making a save, I felt something in my leg and I called for the physio to make sure it was nothing. Above all, though, I wanted to make sure that we as a team could catch our breath.”
“Suddenly, I saw that the coach, Maurizio Sarri, had sent Willy Caballero to warm up. He thought I couldn’t go on. My intention, right or wrong, had only been to waste time to help the team. I didn’t have any serious problem that was going to keep me from continuing to play.”
“I tried to signal that I was O.K., that I wasn’t injured. But we were at Wembley in front of more than 80,000 people, so of course Sarri didn’t understand me. When the fourth official raised the board, clearly I should have come off, and I’m sorry I didn’t.”
“I was wrong, and I am sorry for everyone who was involved: for Maurizio Sarri, for Willy and for all my teammates and Chelsea fans who had to put up with everything — all the noise that was generated during the game and then in the days after.”