February 26 – So much for a mere misunderstanding. Chelsea’s Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has been fined a week’s wages and apologised for refusing to be substituted during Sunday’s English League Cup final defeat by Manchester City, an incident which made global headlines.
Kepa, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper who appeared to be suffering from cramp, defied instructions from Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri to be substituted at the end of extra time, only for Chelsea to lose the subsequent penalty shootout.
With the change already displayed to the stadium by the fourth official, and Chelsea’s reserve keeper Willy Caballero ready to come on, Kepa insisted he was fit face the penalty shootout – to the fury of Sarri who, with his authority seemingly undermined, initially headed down the tunnel before returning just in time for extra time to end.
Afterwards both player and manager played the incident down, insisting it was all a misunderstanding.
But Kepa has now been fined a week’s wages and has apologised.
“Although there was a misunderstanding, on reflection, I made a big mistake with how I handled the situation,” he said in a Chelsea statement. “I will learn from this episode and will accept any punishment or discipline the club decides is appropriate.”
Sarri added: “Kepa realises he made a big mistake in the way he reacted. He has apologised to me, his team-mates and the club.”
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