Hazard apologises for ballboy incident
Eden Hazard issued an apology to the ballboy he was seen to kick during Chelsea's 0-0 Capital One Cup draw with Swansea on Wednesday evening.
Hazard was given his marching orders over the incident as the Blues were knocked out of the competition, with Swansea going through as 2-0 aggregate winners, setting up a clash with Bradford in the Wembley decider.
After the match, Hazard spoke on Chelsea TV to clarify what happened during the tense occasion.
"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. I apologise," he explained.
"The 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 manager Rafael Benitez backed up Hazard's version of events when probed in his post-match press conference.
"Eden Hazard has been in to see the ball boy and the two have apologised to each other," Benitez said.
"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."
Meanwhile, the club have offered an apology of their own for a tweet from its offical account following the incident.
The tweet read: "Has football gone mad? Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ball boy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it."
They soon apologised, tweeting: "Apologies for earlier ballboy tweet. Hazard has now met with the ballboy and has said sorry."
Adding to the drama, Press Association Sport reports that the ballboy involved in the scuffle with Hazard is Charley Morgan, the son of Swansea director Martin Morgan.
The boy posted on his Twitter account just hours before the game: "The king of all ball boys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting".