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Gianluigi Buffon defends his Champions League meltdown following Gary Lineker criticism

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Gianluigi Buffon speaks out following Gary Lineker criticism
Gianluigi Buffon raged at Michael Oliver (Getty)

Gianluigi Buffon has launched an impassioned defence of his actions during the Champions League tie between Juventus and Real Madrid following criticism.

The Italian goalkeeper was furious with referee Michael Oliver over a penalty decision that ended a dramatic comeback from Juventus.

The Italian side were leading 3-0 on the night at the Bernabeu to level the tie on aggregate. But with an astonishing comeback looking on, Real Madrid were awarded an injury-time penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to take the reigning champions through to the semi-finals.

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Gianluigi Buffon speaks out following Gary Lineker criticism
Buffon was shown a red card for his behaviour (Getty)

Buffon made his feelings known by shouting and pushing the referee which led to him being sent off. In the aftermath, he said Oliver had a garbage bin for a heart.

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Some have criticised Buffon, with Olivers wife allegedly targeted. Gary Lineker said the Juventus captain was out of order

Im told this happened after Buffon/Oliver incident on Weds:
* Olivers wife Lucy was sent threatening texts after her mobile no was posted on Twitter. Police are investigating, deactivated her no
* abuse/threats were shouted through her letter box
* Police/PGMOL supporting them

— Jacqui Oatley (@JacquiOatley) April 14, 2018

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

However, Buffon has said he would take the same actions again.

I dont have to make up for anything, because I am a human being who puts passion, sentiment and anger into what I do, Buffon told television programme Le Iene, via Football Italia.

You find a way to speak, right or wrong, that at times can seem excessive… but this is me, I am Gigi Buffon. The other night the game had finished an hour and a half ago, so consequently what one expresses at that moment are sentiments and thoughts that are strong, in certain respects raw, but the sentiments of a man who wont hide behind a veil of hypocrisy and instead throws out what is bubbling in his guts. End of story.

Right there, you cannot ask a man who lives sport as deeply as I do to be balanced, because even if I expressed these feelings in an exaggerated way, they were still logical thoughts. Id say them all again. Maybe with a different type of language, one that was more civilised, lets say. But the content remains and I stand by all of it.

Gianluigi Buffon speaks out following Gary Lineker criticism
Buffon couldnt contain himself

Even if I was excessive, I said what I thought, that he should not have given that penalty. A referee with more experience would not have blown his whistle and decided not to become the protagonist of the match. He wouldve left it running, turned around and let the two teams fight it out in extra time. Let the pitch do the talking.

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Im sure Oliver will have a great career in future, but hes too young to officiate a match like that. The beauty, the imponderable nature of football, means that unfortunately this young man found himself in a situation that was too complex, too garbled and too big for him to deal with.

So at the end of the day, what I said after the match, I dont hold any rancour towards Oliver. Im not even angry with him. It all ended there, but naturally in the heat of the moment one does feel Im not saying penalised… I felt defrauded. Not defrauded of the result, but of the night. It was a night that can never be repeated.

We couldve written a memorable page in the history books of football for Juve, for Italy. Our victory combined with that of Roma (who beat Barcelona 3-0 the night before to wipe out a 4-1 first leg aggregate result) wouldve been just incredible.

Before being a Juventino, I am an Italian, and I really cared about Italian football doing well. Seeing Roma achieve that amazing comeback, I was so passionately cheering them on. Seeing Juve go to Madrid and come back from 3-0 down… I got emotional. It was just priceless.

I have lost more important matches than this, but the way it developed and was evolving, it was the most wonderful and exciting match I had ever experienced with Juventus. I think the same is true of my teammates and the fans.

Gianluigi Buffon speaks out following Gary Lineker criticism
Oliver was taken aback by Buffons actions (Getty)

More: Gary Lineker

Buffon conceded that it may have been a penalty – with pundits split on whether Oliver made the right call. But despite that, he thinks it was wrong to give it.

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It wasnt a situation where you could say: “That is definitely a penalty.” Im not saying it wasnt a penalty, I am saying it was a dubious situation. In a game like that, 20 seconds from the end, a dubious situation is not going to be enough for an experienced referee to transform everything. In my view, an experienced referee would make a different evaluation.

Give me at least the legitimacy to defend in an exasperated and passionate manner the performance of my teammates, to defend those 5,000 fans who came to Madrid to cheer us on.

I have to defend my teammates and fans, even in a not very composed fashion, because I feel it. I had to let that out, even if it damaged my reputation.

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