The Spaniard reportedly refused to leave Wembley field before a final penalty defeat, while his manager left fuming at night.
Kepa Arrizabalaga reiterated his remorse over his ‘big misunderstanding’ during the Carabao Cup final in 2019, with another apology to then-coach Maurizio Sarri for his part in Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City.
The striker has reportedly refused to leave the field after being indicated in extra time in front of a substitute for Willy Caballero, ahead of a turnaround against Pep Guardiola’s side at Wembley.
The incident caused a wide-ranging discussion worldwide in the immediate aftermath, but now, two years later, the Spaniard has been trying to further clarify the events that unfolded that day while offering another apology.
What was said?
“Let’s just deal with it here once and for all,” Kepa said in the Player’s Tribune. “It was all a big misunderstanding. After I did a rescue, I felt something in my leg and I asked the physio to make sure it was nothing. But most of all, I wanted to make sure we as’ a team we breathe.
“Suddenly I saw coach Maurizio Sarri send Willy Caballero to warm up. He thought I could not go on. My intention, right or wrong, was just to waste time helping the team. I did not ‘I have no serious problem that prevents me from playing further.
“I tried to indicate that I was OK, that I was not injured. But we were at Wembley in front of more than 80,000 people, so Sarri obviously did not understand me. When the fourth official increased the board , it’s clear I should have come down, and I’m sorry I did not.
“I was wrong, and I’m sorry for everyone involved: for Maurizio Sarri, who seemed to be undermining in public; for Willy, a teammate and a great professional; and for all my teammates and Chelsea fans who had to endure everything – all the noise generated during the game and in the days that followed. ‘
What happened in the 2019 Carabao Cup final?
Sarri played a goalless game on a regular basis – and with neither side able to break the deadlock – Sarri made the choice to point to Caballero preparing for a penalty shoot-out, while the Argentine previously won the competition as City’s shooting stopper in 2016.
Kepa’s refusal to leave made his driver fuming, and Sarri almost left the tunnel after the incident, before the ensuing shootout.
City won 4-3, with the Spaniard only able to save Leroy Sane’s effort from the point.
The bigger picture
Ever since Thomas Tuchel was banned as a nominal first choice at Stamford Bridge, he remains an important team for the German and was a member of the Blues squad that won the Champions League last season, behind Edouard Mendy.
He previously improved his Carabao Cup deception with an excellent performance in the 2019 Europa League final, giving Sarri his only honor during his short stint at Chelsra.
While the Blues want to tackle more silverware this term, the Spaniard may limit his chances, although he will apparently stay at the club for the new campaign.