London, 26 February 2019 (MIA/dpa) – Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has been fined one week’s wages and admitted he made a “big mistake” when he refused to be substituted in the dying minutes of the League Cup final on Sunday.
In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s final, which Chelsea lost to Manchester City on penalties, the Spaniard claimed it had been a “misunderstanding”, with manager Maurizio Sarri believing he was unfit to continue because he was suffering from cramp.
But in the early hours of Tuesday, Kepa and Sarri released follow-up statements, in which Kepa apologized again.
“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 (Caballero, the second-choice goalkeeper), my team-mates and to the club.
“I have done this and now I want to offer the same apology to the fans. I will learn from this episode and will accept any punishment or discipline the club decides is appropriate.”
Sarri said he and Kepa, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper at 80 million euros (130 million dollars), had spoken extensively about the situation.
“It was a good conversation,” he said.
“There was a misunderstanding yesterday but he realises he made a big mistake in the way he reacted. For me this matter is now closed.
“The team performance as a whole was extremely positive and it is a shame to see how this incident has overshadowed our efforts in what was a very competitive cup final. Everyone’s focus is now on the next game and we must all now put this behind us.”
Chelsea said Kepa’s weekly wages, which were reported to be around 200,000 pounds (263,000 dollars), will be donated to the Chelsea Foundation.