Kepa Arrizabalaga has finally given his account regarding a controversial decision to refuse to leave the field of play in the Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City in 2019.
The shot-stopper refused to be substituted under Maurizio Sarri, with Willy Caballero ready to come on.
Speaking to theplayerstribune.com, Kepa has told his side of the story.
"For me, only that moment in the League Cup final tarnished my first season.It was all a big misunderstanding." he said.
"Manchester City were dominating the game in extra time and there was barely any time left until penalties. After making a save, I felt something in my leg and I called for the physio to make sure it was nothing. Above all, though, I wanted to make sure that we as a team could catch our breath."
With substitute goalkeeper Caballero, who boasted an impressive penalty record, on the sidelines ready to come on, Kepa refused to leave the pitch as fans were left shocked and confused in the Wembley stands.
"Suddenly, I saw that the coach, Maurizio Sarri, had sent Willy Caballero to warm up. He thought I couldn't go on. My intention, right or wrong, had only been to waste time to help the team. I didn’t have any serious problem that was going to keep me from continuing to play." Kepa continued.
"I tried to signal that I was O.K., 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. When the fourth official raised the board, clearly I should have come off, and I’m sorry I didn’t."
Kepa proceeded to admit that he was in the wrong, issuing an apology to everyone involved as he wishes to put the situation behind him.
He said: "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 — all the noise that was generated during the game and then in the days after.
"Inside the club it was no big deal. I had a chat with the boss, we talked about how we had each seen the situation, and we cleared the air. After that I got dropped for one game, but a week later I was back in the team. I remember playing a great game against Fulham, and that was it. A couple of months later we knocked Frankfurt out of the Europa League semifinals and I saved two penalties in the shootout. Internally, everything was fine again."
Kepa is looking to put the incident behind him and look to the future as the goalkeeper is looking forward to another season in London depsite being demoted to second choice goalkeeper following Edouard Mendy's impressive performances.