LONDON, FEB 26 — Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has apologized for refusing to come off the pitch after coach Maurizio Sarri ordered him to be substituted in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City.
“Although there was a misunderstanding, on reflection, I made a big mistake with how I handled that situation. I wanted to take the time today to apologize fully and in person to the coach, to [reserve goalkeeper] Willy [Caballero], my teammates and to the club,” the 24-year-old said in a club statement.
Sarri decided to bring on Caballero to replace Arrizabalaga ahead of the penalty shootout, but the world’s most expensive goalkeeper gesticulated that he would not be substituted. With Arrizabalaga refusing to leave the field, Sarri furiously stormed down the tunnel.
Although Arrizabalaga kept out Leroy Sane’s penalty, Chelsea lost the shootout 4-3 to Manchester City.
After the match, Arrizabalaga referred to the chaos as a misunderstanding, saying that while Sarri thought the goalkeeper was injured after being attended to by the medical team, he was actually fine to continue playing.
“There was a misunderstanding yesterday but he realizes he made a big mistake in the way he reacted. He has apologized to me, his teammates and the club. It is up to the club if they want to discipline him according to the club rules, but for me this matter is now closed,” said Sarri, whose future at Stamford Bridge was already in doubt after an FA Cup exit last Monday and a humiliating 6-0 defeat against Manchester City in the Premier League earlier in the month.
Chelsea revealed that the club has decided to fine Arrizabalaga a week’s wages, to be donated to charity. – XINHUA