Tuesday 21 January 2020

Buffon fury at late Oliver twist

Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon. Photo: Getty Images
Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon. Photo: Getty Images

Miguel Delaney

A furious Gigi Buffon launched an astonishing rant at referee Michael Oliver, saying he has a "rubbish bin instead of a heart" and that he "doesn't know s***", after the English official gave a 93rd-minute penalty that sent Real Madrid through to the Champions League semi-finals and denied Juventus a sensational comeback.

The 40-year-old was sent off for confronting and appearing to make contact with the official and, facing up to what might have been his last European appearance, didn't hold back in a TV interview after the game either, as he described Oliver as an "animal" and said he'd have been better off watching from the stands "while eating fries".

"To award such a doubtful, or super doubtful penalty, just ahead of the final whistle and destroy the work of a team who gave absolutely everything you have to have a rubbish bin instead of a heart," Buffon said. "You need to be prepared for a game like this.

"You have to watch the first leg and see that a similar foul was not punished with a penalty for Juventus in Turin. And especially you need personality to referee a game like this. If you don't have personality, you better watch the game from the stands with your wife and your kids while eating fries. What did I say to him while I was protesting?

"I could say everything in that moment because when you take such decision in a certain moment of the game it means you don't know what sport is.

"A human being cannot decide the elimination of a team with such decision. When I don't feel that I'm good enough, I put myself in a corner. He should do the same. It's a matter of sensibility. It means you don't know where you are, which teams are playing, you don't know s***.

"If you have the cynicism to award a penalty like that in the 93rd minute, you are not a man, you are an animal."

More positively, Buffon said: "Life goes on. I'm happy and proud of how we played, we made the impossible possible. It's a shame it ends like this."

Juventus manager Max Allegri added that said that crying now would be "useless" but did admit that it is "difficult to take".

"To cry right now is useless," Allegri said. "Unfortunately it went like that and Gigi had the reaction, which was understandable. I don't know if it was his last game. There were three seconds to go, we'd come back and he had a human reaction. There was a lot of confusion. The ref thought it was a open and he gave it. We can't do anything about it. We have a bitter taste as we also played well last week, despite the result.

"You need to understand that after a game like this to have a penalty awarded against you is difficult to take.

"I told [Sergio] Ramos it was a grey-area penalty. In the first leg we had a penalty in the 93rd minute that wasn't awarded. Then there was the red card to Buffon which was hard to take.

"Both sides deserved to go through. It's just not possible."

Asked whether his side would have been aided by VAR, Allegri said: "Well, we've lost so there's not a lot to say. That's Uefa's problem. I have always said VAR is a useful tool that can help make objective decisions... but we don't have it here."

There was no doubt for Ronaldo, however, nor Marcelo.

"I don't understand why they are protesting," Ronaldo said. "Lucas was tackled from behind and if they don't give him the penalty, it's a goal."

Marcelo, when asked about how fearful he was of succumbing to the same fate as Barcelona, in losing a three-goal lead to an Italian side to be eliminated, since the Catalans had lost 3-0 to Roma the previous night.

"What happened to Barca was never going to happen to us," he said, with a wink, "because we're Real Madrid."

© Independent News Service

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