Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has said that he is “not proud” of refusing to leave the pitch against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final in February.
In one of the most shocking scenes in recent football history, the former Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper refused to leave the pitch when asked by Maurizio Sarri to make way for Willy Caballero.
The 24-year-old had gone down in the box in the dying minutes of extra-time, which led to the former Argentina international being given the call by the former Napoli boss. But, despite his number going up, Kepa stayed on the pitch, which led to furious gesticulations from his boss. The 60-year-old almost walked down the Wembley tunnel, before thinking better of it.
Clearly, the Spain international regrets the situation, telling Cadena SER:
“I am not proud about what happened.
“This is a situation that I never felt. He thought I was injured, everything went faster [than expected] and happened as it happened.
“I said sorry to everyone and Sarri explained to me how he felt after this, but we were in the spotlight this week.
“Internally, everything was solved and finished the day after Carabao Cup.
“From now I will ask the manager [questions] just in the half-time of the extra-time!”
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Hopefully he has learned his lesson
There are many unwritten rules in the world of football, and against the Citizens, Kepa broke one of the most important. Never disobey your manager, and especially not in such a public way.
Still relatively young and inexperienced at the time, the 6ft1 shot-stopper should be given the benefit of the doubt. After all, he was dropped for the following league fixture against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge, as decided by the manager himself, and he was also fined. He does not appear to have caused any problems since.
However, one can only hope that he has learned his lesson, as it is likely Frank Lampard will not be so forgiving. As we saw with the way he handled the David Luiz situation, he’s not afraid to show talented players the exit door.
The former PSG centre-back was a teammate of Lampard’s during his playing career, with the two playing together in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on one of the biggest nights in the Blues’ history. Therefore, one would expect there is an affinity between them, yet the club’s record goalscorer showed ruthlessness by moving him on.
With Kepa, there is no such connection. Should the goalkeeper act up again, expect Lampard to let him know who is boss.