Gianluigi Buffon was understandably upset at the penalty call that wound up ousting Juventus from the Champions League and spoiling a comeback, but the usually graceful veteran was way out of line in his actions and words.

By 90Min
April 18, 2018

We're almost a week on now from the fascinating drama that unfolded at the Bernabeu in the Champions League quarter-final second leg between Real Madrid and Juventus, and Gigi Buffon has literally only just stopped venting.

Over the space of the past week the footballing world has watched, listened to or read what the seething Italian has had to say about referee Michael Oliver, waiting for the moment he'd calm down. Waiting for him to take stock of the situation and perhaps apologise for his scathing remarks. People, and perhaps Oliver himself, are still waiting on that moment.

It is incredible to think that someone as revered as Buffon is around the globe, someone as well respected and someone who doesn't mind fronting up to mistakes cannot see that how he's behaving is totally wrong.

Fans can only imagine the rage he must have felt when Oliver gave Madrid the penalty. Without a doubt, coming back from three goals down to then have potential progression snatched away from you at the death has to hurt. But the awkward thing amid all of Buffon's classless post-match trash talking, is that Oliver was spot on.

The English official was perfectly positioned and had balls of steel to make that call, and make the call he did. He was then within his rights to send Buffon off, which he did.

The 40-year-old has had time to calm down now and gather his thoughts, but is still behaving like a brat who didn't get his way. He's a legend of the game and has obviously done great things and always represented great human qualities, but his emotion cannot serve as an excuse for his comments towards Mr. Oliver and the longer he doesn't apologize, the larger that stain on his character grows - which is a shame.

It seems shocking that this 'gentleman' would behave like this, and it's even more bizarre when you remember some of the things he has said in the past that completely contradict his outburst.

In 2012, Buffon said of AC Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari's non-goal against the Old Lady: "Have to be honest, it was all moving so quickly that I didn’t realize the ball had crossed the line. Mind you, even if I had realized, I certainly wouldn’t have told the referee!"

And only last year after defeating Inter with refereeing controversy he said: "Shut up and go home and improve. If you want to create non-existent incidents and wave the white handkerchiefs, that means you’re completely out of order and I can’t appreciate or respect you."

In 2014, after robbing Roma following their 3-2 win Buffon said: "Winners find a way, losers find an excuse. It seems to me a motto that fits in well with everyday life as well as sport. I advise you not give life to excuses or alibis as mediocre people would."

It's all very awkward, and super disappointing that a man of such maturity and morals could leave the situation like this. By his own logic, he is a massive loser at this moment in time.

Given Buffon's stature in the game and the weight of which his words carry, his misplaced scorn has unfortunately resulted in despicable post-match abuse for Oliver, and for his wife Lucy on Twitter - if Buffon really did have anything about him, he would step in immediately and implore these delusional trolls to stop.

For now though it appears as though this great goalkeeper will run the risk of tarnishing his incredible reputation, all because he thinks Oliver and his 'trashcan for a heart' wanted to ruin his fairy tale ending in Europe and nothing to do with making a decision that needed to be made. 

His dazzling career has brought fans great joy over the past two decades but it's time for Buffon to swallow his pride and shake that hypocrisy tag. It's not too late, but that glowing rep is bound to get dimmer by the day.

At 40, Buffon is about to retire from the game, meaning this ugly situation that's happened right at the end of his career will likely never be forgotten. It's up to him now to manage it in the way most people hope he does.

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