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Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga 'cried' in dressing room after refusing to come off during 2019 Carabao Cup final, former Blues coach reveals

20:10 GMT 24/02/2023
Kepa Arrizabalaga 2019 Carabao Cup final
A former Chelsea goalkeeper coach has revealed Kepa Arrizabalaga was in tears after his 2019 Carabao Cup antics where he refused to be substituted.
  • Kepa cried after 2019 Carabao Cup final defeat
  • Refused to be substituted in extra time
  • But cried in dressing room afterwards

WHAT HAPPENED? Looking back at one of English football's most surreal moments in recent years, former Chelsea goalkeeper coach Massimo Nenci has opened up on the extraordinary events that saw Kepa disobey an order from then manager Maurizio Sarri in extra time of the Carabao Cup final, refusing to make way for Willy Caballero.

WHAT THEY SAID: In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Nenci explained that Kepa had been carrying a light injury the day before, but started the game: "At the end of the 90 minutes he was receiving some treatment for the injury, and Antonio Rudiger said to him, "wait wait wait, we are in a difficult moment. We need you to stay on." Kepa stayed there with the doctor, who said that his situation was good.

"But in extra-time Maurizio thought we should substitute Kepa with Caballero, because Caballero is a big penalty saver, and against City [his former club] he would have been perfect for us."

He continued: "But Kepa didn't understand that the substitution was for tactical reasons, not because of the injury. Willy is a big, big penalty saver.

"All the team was angry in the dressing room. But first of all, I want to tell you that Kepa is a very, very good guy. And when he recognised his mistake he cried, he cried. He is a very good guy.

"He was saying, "I'm sorry mister, I'm sorry. I didn't understand."'

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With the game goalless after 90 minutes and another two halves of extra time, Sarri had backup stopper - and former City player - Willy Caballero stripped off and ready to be substituted on for the impending penalty shootout. But Kepa refused to make way on the field, resulting in a furious Sarri backing down visibly angered with his orders defied.

Kepa saved one penalty in a shootout that City ultimately won, and apologised for his actions a day later. The Spaniard has endured an up and down time of it since at Stamford Bridge, losing his number one spot to Edouard Mendy but reclaiming it in recent months due to injuries.


WHAT NEXT FOR KEPA? The Spaniard will need to keep at his best in order to avoid losing his spot once more when Mendy returns from injury, with Potter doing everything he can to try and change Chelsea's recent fortunes.