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26th Feb 2019

Kepa Arrizabalaga apologises for final incident after being fined one week’s wages

Wayne Farry

Despite the fine, Kepa is unlikely to be dropped by Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has been fined by the club for refusing to follow his manager’s instructions during the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.

The Spanish goalkeeper was at the centre of controversy after refusing to be replaced by substitute goalkeeper Willy Caballero towards the end of extra-time at Wembley, a situation which visibly infuriated Maurizio Sarri.

Kepa had twice gone down with what appeared to be cramp during the game, and injuries were the reason given by Sarri post-match for wanting to complete the substitution.

At the time many had considered the proposed change to be tactical, given Caballero’s skill in penalty shootouts and his experience of playing alongside Chelsea’s opponents on the day.

Both manager and player downplayed the incident after the game, with both claiming that it was little more than a “misunderstanding”.

Despite this Kepa has been handed a one-week fine for his role in the debacle, with the club confirming that his fine would be donated to the club’s foundation.

“The club has made a decision to fine Kepa one week’s wages and donate it to the Chelsea Foundation,” the club said in a statement on their official website.

Kepa and Sarri also issued statements alongside the club, with the goalkeeper admitting making a “big mistake”.

“I have thought a lot more about yesterday’s events. Although there was a misunderstanding, on reflection, I made a big mistake with how I handled the situation,” he said.

“I wanted to take the time today to apologise fully and in person to the coach, to Willy, my team-mates and to the club. I have done this and now I want to offer the same apology to the fans.”

“Kepa and I have spoken about the incident,” Sarri said in his own statement. “It was a good conversation. There was a misunderstanding yesterday but he realises he made a big mistake in the way he reacted.

“He has apologised to me, his team mates 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.

“Everyone’s focus is now on the next game and we must all now put this behind us.”