Champions League

Raging Buffon's crazy Champions League farewell

2018-04-12 21:54
Gianluigi Buffon (AP)

Turin - Gianluigi Buffon's Champions League career came to a bitter end on a crazy night with the Juventus legend sent off in Madrid and then accusing the referee of having "a rubbish bin instead of a heart".

The veteran goalkeeper's frustration spilled over at the Santiago Bernabeu after Juventus beat Real Madrid 3-1 on the night, but were eliminated 4-3 on aggregate in the quarter-final after English referee Michael Oliver awarded the Spaniards a contested 97th-minute penalty.

"In place of a heart he has a rubbish bin," raged 40-year-old Buffon after Oliver pointed to the spot for Mehdi Benatia's challenge on Lucas Vazquez in the dying minutes.

Buffon was given his first ever red card in 117 Champions League games and after Wojciech Szczesny had taken his place in the Juventus goal, Cristiano Ronaldo coolly slotted home the spot kick to put defending champions Real Madrid through to the semi-finals.

"You have to be a murderer to make the last two decisions the referee made," Buffon, the Juve captain, said later.

"You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could've told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating," he continued.

"If you can't handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps."

It was another blow for the charismatic 2006 World Cup winner who was reduced to tears after Italy dramatically failed to qualify for the global showpiece in November's playoffs.

Juventus have finished runners-up twice in the Champions League in the past three years and Wednesday's defeat was probably Buffon's last chance to continue his bid for the only major title missing from his collection.

"I'm not here to judge what the referee saw, because it was a borderline incident," he said, continuing his diatribe.

"All I'll say is that you can't be that cynical in the 93rd minute, to shatter the dreams of a team that had given everything it had to give.

"I've always found it an honour to go up against this team and this club in front of this crowd, but tonight we deserved extra time at the very least."

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said he could understand Buffon's fury and called for the introduction of the use of VAR in the Champions League - it is already used in the Serie A in Italy.

"The referee did not understand anything, and tonight the least happy person of all should be him," said Agnelli.

Benatia, whose challenge led to the penalty, said: "It's unbelievable that our captain isn't allowed to speak to the referee - the red card was very harsh."

Buffon's dismissal generated a storm back home with Turin daily La Stampa lamenting "the beauty of football, and its cruelty".

"(The penalty) ruined everything, including Buffon's farewell to the Champions League. The dream was stolen, the achievement cannot be reached. It hurts to go out like this."

"It hurts badly, very badly," agreed Italian daily Corriere della Sera. "Juventus deserved more, much more, at least extra-time."

"The rage and the pride," headlined Gazzetta dello Sport of "a night of regrets".

"Every referee knows that there are times when whistling has a different weight, and therefore only the most obvious fouls are punished," wrote Gazzetta dello Sport, claiming that Oliver "was not up to the challenge".

Tuttosport, a paper based in Juventus' home city of Turin, said it was "an undeserved ending - just as Buffon doesn't deserve to end his career in Europe with a red card."

After the frustration, Buffon - who had said this season would be his final one - must turn his attention to winning a seventh straight Serie A title with Juventus, and completing the double with the Italian Cup.

Next up is a Serie A game against Sampdoria on Sunday with a potential title decider against Napoli on April 22, and the Italian Cup final against AC Milan on May 9.

And there remains another record which could prove a lure for Buffon to continue his club career - Paolo Maldini's record for Serie A appearances.

Buffon has played 635 times in Italy's top flight, but with seven games remaining this season he would fall short of former AC Milan defender Maldini's record of 647.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, Stadion Luzhniki 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Galatasaray v Porto, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 19:55
Schalke 04 v Lokomotiv Moskva, Veltins-Arena 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur, Camp Nou 22:00
Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid, Jan Breydelstadion 22:00
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund, Stade Louis II 22:00
Internazionale v PSV, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Crvena Zvezda v PSG, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Viktoria Plzen v Roma, Doosan Arena 19:55
Real Madrid v CSKA Moskva, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 19:55
Valencia v Manchester United, Estadio de Mestalla 22:00
Benfica v AEK Athens, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Hoffenheim, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Ajax v Bayern Munchen, Johan Cruijff ArenA 22:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Olympique Lyonnais, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 22:00
Young Boys v Juventus, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.