Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Azzizabalaga has apologised to former manager Maurizio Sarri over the infamous Carabao Cup final substitution fiasco.
The Blues were taking on Manchester City at Wembley in the 2019 event, with Kepa having been selected to start during for his first final after moving to Stamford Bridge.
The Spaniard had become the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when the Blues activated the £71million release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract.
The match went into extra-time time with the score still goalless when towards the end of that period, Kepa went down with an apparent injury.
City had been dominating the game up to that point, with the prospect of a penalty shootout looming.
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The Chelsea keeper made a save before calling on the physio to check his leg, which turned out to be fine.
But Sarri did not get that message and sent out substitute keeper Willy Caballero to get warmed-up ahead of coming on.
Though Kepa insisted he was fine to carry on, Sarri attempted to go ahead with the substitution, with the fourth official going as far as to raise his board to signal the decision.
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The Spaniard was insistent though and refused to leave the pitch, with Sarri eventually relenting to the young keeper.
Kepa has now apologised for his actions, with City going on to win the final on penalties.
“I tried to signal that I was OK, 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,” Kepa wrote in a column for the Players’ Tribune.
“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.”
Kepa was dropped for the Blues’ next match, before going on to lose his place in the side permanently when Edouard Mendy was signed last summer.
Sarri meanwhile was sacked at the end of that season and has recently returned to management with Serie A side Lazio.
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