Juventus legends Alessandro Del Piero and Andrea Pirlo have refused to get behind GIanluigi Buffon’s scathing criticism of referee Michael Oliver on Wednesday night.
Buffon was sent off for manhandling Oliver in the wake of the referee awarding a controversial penalty to Real Madrid in stoppage time of a fascinating encounter at the Bernabeu, a penalty that ultimately sealed Real’s place in the Champions League semi-final when it was dispatched by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Buffon, who had seen Juve pull level on aggregate with a 3-0 lead on the night, was absolutely furious, and continued his tirade well after the match when he accused Oliver of “having a trash can where his heart should be.”
Speaking to Sky Sports Italia after the match, Del Piero, who won the competition with Juve in 1996, felt that Buffon let himself down with those comments and is likely to think differently in a few days when he has calmed down:
“When Gigi spoke about the referee I couldn’t understand him, honestly. I don’t understand why he talked about the previous fixture. In football you analyze the present.
“I understand that it’s a frustrating situation but I think that he will think about what I said and possibly say different words in a few days.”
Pirlo, meanwhile, was a bit more sympathetic to Buffon’s viewpoint. He felt that Buffon’s words were perhaps a bit over the top, but he can understand the reaction to seeing Juve’s Champions League hopes go up in smoke having fought so hard over the course of 90 minutes:
“I understand Buffon, I would’ve gone crazy.
“I think he exaggerated the part about a crime against the humanity of sports being committed, but it should be understood that it was his last game in the Champions League and he expected to win it.”
With Buffon set to retire at the end of the season, the “win” at the Bernabeu is likely to be the 40-year-old’s last game in the Champions League. That said, he may yet seek to right this perceived injustice with another season minding goal for the Old Lady.
Should he decide to stay on, he will miss the first match, if not more, of next season’s Champions League campaign with Juve.