April 16 – Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon remains unrepentant following his tirade about English referee Michael Oliver whose decision to award Real Madrid a stoppage-time penalty last week wrecked Juventus’ dreams of Champions League success.
Buffon, who was sent off for dissent by Oliver in the melee that followed the decision, said he was not backing down “even if it damages my reputation”.
Juve thought they had forced extra time after wiping out Real’s three-goal first-leg advantage until Medhi Benatia was adjudged to have fouled substitute Lucas Vazquez in the final seconds. After seeing red, Buffon was scathing of Oliver and says he sticks by every word.
He told Italian television: “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.
“Even if I was excessive, I said what I thought, that he should not have given that penalty. A referee with more experience would not have blown his whistle and decided not to become the protagonist of the match. He would’ve left it running, turned around and let the two teams fight it out in extra time.
“I’m sure Oliver will have a great career in future, but he’s too young to officiate a match like that.
“I don’t hold any rancour towards Oliver ….(but) it was a night that can never be repeated. We could’ve written a memorable page in the history books of football for Juve, for Italy.
“In a game like that, 20 seconds from the end, a dubious situation is not going to be enough for an experienced referee to transform everything. In my view, an experienced referee would make a different evaluation. It wasn’t a situation where you can say it’s a definite penalty.”
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