Kepa Arrizabalaga finally opens up on his infamous row with Sarri

Kepa Arrizabalaga reflects on his bust-up with former manager Maurizio Sarri during the 2019 League Cup final.

The Spaniard refused to come off the pitch when the fourth official raised the board to confirm his substitution in that match against Manchester City.

Earlier he was knocked down while making a save and Sarri and his team thought that Kepa should not continue.

Kepa stayed on the pitch and then eventually Chelsea lose the penalty shootout to Man City and the Spaniard was subjected to criticism by supporters and pundits.

“It was all a big misunderstanding,” the Chelsea goalkeeper explains. “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, 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 semi-finals and I saved two penalties in the shootout.

“Internally, everything was fine again. But outside the club, it got out of control.”


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