Eden Hazard has apologised to the ball boy he kicked during Chelsea’s League Cup semi-final second-leg with Swansea.
The 0-0 draw at Liberty Stadium saw Swansea progress to the final with a 2-0 aggregate win, but the match was overshadowed by Hazard’s kick to the mid-section of a ball-boy who would not give him the ball back after a wayward Cesar Azpilicueta pass went out of play.
The youngster decided to not release the ball promptly, and Hazard attempted to wrestle it from him before kicking him while he was lying on it and, after some deliberation, referee Chris Foy gave the winger a straight red card.
Hazard expressed regret at the incident.
“The boy put his
whole body onto the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball and I
think I kicked the ball and not the boy,” Hazard told Chelsea TV. “I apologise.
ball boy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I
apologised and the boy apologised as well, and it is over. Sorry.”
Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez confirmed the meeting had taken place.
“Eden Hazard has been in to see the ball boy and the two have apologised to each other,” Benitez told reporters.
“The ball boy knows he was wasting time. We are disappointed to lose the player but we cannot change things. They both recognise there was a mistake.
“The boy was apologising for time wasting. Hazard was frustrated and tried to get the ball. He was kicking the ball and getting the ball.
“We can analyse if for half an hour but we know that both are wrong.”
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup believes Hazard will feel foolish once he sees the incident back.
“Well I saw it from a very (big) distance, obviously from the bench, and just saw it after the game and I think Hazard, who is a great player, I think when he sees the images on television I think he will regret it,” the Dane said.
The ball-boy in question has received criticism for what has been deemed a blatant attempt to waste time, but Laudrup was adamant instructions to delay giving Chelsea the ball back were never issued.
“No, no, definitely not,” he said. “I think he was pushed and then he is on top of the ball. But whatever happens, I can understand all frustrations, you know, when you are behind, we all try that.
“I’ve been a player myself, you have a 118 in pulse, but there are things you can never do.”