Kepa Arrizabalaga opens up on Carabao Cup final incident as Chelsea goalkeeper apologises to Maurizio Sarri

Kepa Arrizabalaga has given his side of the story on exactly what happened during his infamous Carabao Cup final incident in 2019.

The Spanish goalkeeper was signed by manager Maurizio Sarri for a world record fee for a goalkeeper of £71.6million, but has had more lows than highs during his time at Chelsea.

Kepa refused to come off during the Carabao Cup final

Getty

Kepa refused to come off during the Carabao Cup final

He has since been relegated to back-up status following the signing of Edouard Mendy last summer, but the moment Kepa will forever be remembered for happened in that final against Man City.

As the match was heading towards a penalty shootout, and the goalkeeper appearing to suffer from cramp, Sarri readied Willy Caballero to come on in his place.

Kepa, though, refused to come off the pitch and left his manager seething on the touchline.

He has finally opened up on what happened, and explained how it was all a misunderstanding and it was soon straightened out with his boss.

The Spaniard admits, though, the reaction from fans and in the media got ‘out of control’.

He wrote in The Players’ Tribune: “For me, only that moment in the League Cup final tarnished my first season… Let’s just deal with that here 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. 

Sarri was left fuming on the touchline after Kepa defied him

AFP

Sarri was left fuming on the touchline after Kepa defied him

“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 OK, 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, who it seemed like I had undermined in public; for Willy, a teammate and a great professional; 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.

“Inside the club it was no big deal. I had a chat with the boss, we talked about how we had each seen the situation, and we cleared the air. After that I got dropped for one game, but a week later I was back in the team. I remember playing a great game against Fulham, and that was it. A couple of months later we knocked Frankfurt out of the Europa League semifinals and I saved two penalties in the shootout. Internally, everything was fine again. 

Kepa has now finally apologised for what happened

Getty

Kepa has now finally apologised for what happened

“But outside the club, it got out of control. 

“When I picked up my phone in the dressing room after the League Cup final, I realised that I had become worldwide news. For the next three or four days it didn’t stop. It was overwhelming. And clearly, most people who saw the pictures thought that I had disrespected Maurizio. 

“I felt misunderstood, because it had never been my intention to snub the coach. I had only tried to tell him I was OK. I tried to explain this to the press, but I couldn’t.

“Luckily, now it is just an anecdote from the past. I still have a fantastic relationship with Maurizio. And next time, in a similar situation, I will know what to do.

“But it is an example that not everything is what it seems from the outside.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *