Chelsea star Eden Hazard is showing that he’s clearly captain material after his message to Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Chelsea goalkeeper has been very much talked about after his now infamous refusal to be substituted in place of Caballero in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final loss to Manchester City.
Kepa was axed for Willy Caballero in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Tottenham on Wednesday night, and the club fined him a week’s wages following the incident.
Hazard has spoken about the issue for the first time and admitted that Kepa made a mistake by his actions but has backed him since he has acknowledged his mistake and apologised to the team.
“He has the potential to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world,” Hazard told RMC Sport after the match.
“He explained himself to the club, to the players, to the coach, and to Willy Caballero too. He knows very well that he made a mistake and we’ll get over it.”
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri dropped Kepa Arrizabalaga to the bench as Willy Caballero got his first start of the season in the Premier League. But Sarri admitted after the Spurs game that Kepa remains his first choice goalkeeper.
He said: “I think it was the right decision. Kepa made a big mistake. He paid [for it] with the club, and then he had to pay for it with the team. But now it has to stop.
“From tomorrow Kepa will be with us. I don’t know if in the next match he will be on the pitch or not, but in one of the next two for sure. He remains my first choice goalkeeper.
“We cannot kill him. When you are young you can make mistakes. The most important thing is you need to understand very well after every mistake. Now for me the question is closed.”
Eden Hazard was the first to be subbed off against Spurs as Sarri decided to take him off just before the hour mark, and Hazard admitted that he didn’t fully recover from the 120 minutes against Manchester City.
He said: “I was not good. I still felt the 120 minutes against City in my legs. And I had some pain in my thigh. I almost didn’t play, but the pain hasn’t aggravated. I’m fine.”