Buffon on referee rant: ‘I stand by all of it’
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says he fully stands behind his inflammatory comments made toward referee Michael Oliver after Wednesday’s dramatic Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.
Buffon questioned the character of the English referee for awarding the late penalty that knocked his club out of the quarterfinals, saying the official had “a garbage bin in the place of a heart.”
And speaking on Italian television on Saturday, the legendary keeper doubled down on his remarks.
“The content remains and I stand by all of it,” Buffon said on Mediaset’s Le Iene. “I’d say them all again — maybe with a different type of language.”
He added: “I don’t have to make up for anything, because I am a human being who puts passion, sentiment and anger into what I do. You find a way to speak, right or wrong, that at times can seem excessive — but this is me, I am Gigi Buffon.”
Juventus had erased a three-goal deficit from the first leg against Real Madrid and the game was headed to extra time until Medhi Benatia brought down Lucas Vazquez, who just had goalkeeper Buffon to beat near the six-yard box.
Buffon was sent off for protesting the decision in the face of Oliver, and Cristiano Ronaldo converted the penalty in the 98th minute to put his side through 4-3 on aggregate.
The goalkeeper also admitted his emotions were still raw after the game when he issued his criticism of Oliver, but he said he didn’t hold a grudge against the 33-year-old, instead blaming a lack of experience.
“I’m sure Oliver will have a great career in future, but he’s too young to officiate a match like that,” Buffon added. “A referee with more experience would not have blown his whistle and decided not to become the protagonist of the match.
“He would have left it running, turned around and let the two teams fight it out in extra time. Let the pitch do the talking.”
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri defended Buffon’s reaction, a day after Italian legend Andrea Pirlo also backed the keeper.
“For 20 years, Buffon has been a role model both on and off the pitch,” Allegri told reporters ahead of Sunday’s clash with Sampdoria. “If on one occasion he said the things he did, in a situation as tough as Wednesday night’s, that is understandable and I challenge anyone to have reacted differently.
“Tomorrow we need to take to the field with a controlled anger, built up from the match in Madrid. Full credit to my players for their extraordinary performance in Madrid. It was an incredible game and we’ve all been talking about it for the last three days. Now, however, we need to focus fully on Sampdoria.”