Gary Lineker urges Gianluigi Buffon to step in and help end abuse of referee Michael Oliver
Former England striker Gary Lineker has urged Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon to help to end a stream of abuse flowing in the direction of English referee Michael Oliver and his wife after he awarded a controversial late penalty to Real Madrid in Wednesday night's Champions League quarter-final.
Italian champions Juventus staged an improbable comeback as they recovered from a 3-0 first leg deficit to draw level with Real Madrid by scoring three goals at the Bernabeu, yet the tie had one final twist as Oliver awarded the home side a penalty in injury time following following Mehdi Benatia’s challenge on Lucas Vazquez.
TV replays suggested Oliver made the right call, yet Juve captain Buffon led the protests on the pitch and was sent off for his aggressive response towards the referee, with his post match comments adding fuel to the annoyance simmering among Juve supporters.
Officials of the Italian club have continued their complaints in the days since, with Oliver's wife Lucy also targeted by Twitter trolls threatening to harm both her and her husband.
Now BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has called on Buffon to play his part in bringing a halt to the abuse, as he hit out at the criticism of the official in a tweet to his seven million followers:
These vituperous attacks on Michael Oliver and his wife are repugnant. Big admirer of Buffon but his behaviour since has been inflammatory and out of order. Oliver was doing his job and hard to argue against his decisions. Understand the emotion but time to defuse it, Gianluigi.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 14, 2018