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Gianluigi Buffon Charged by UEFA for Comments on Michael Oliver

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 11, 2018

ROME, ITALY - MAY 09: Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus  looks on before the TIM Cup  Final between Juventus and AC Milan at Stadio Olimpico on May 9, 2018 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been charged by European football governing body UEFA for comments he made about referee Michael Oliver after his side's Champions League quarter-final exit to Real Madrid.

The retired Italy international was sent off in the final minutes of the defeat to Real, who converted a late penalty to progress to the final four.

BBC Sport reported UEFA found Buffon was in breach of "general principles of conduct" after he said in his post-match comments:

"The team gave its all, but a human being cannot destroy dreams like that at the end of an extraordinary comeback on a dubious situation.

"Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a bag of rubbish. On top of that, if you don't have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, having your drink and eating crisps."

Oliver adjudged Juve defender Medhi Benatia had fouled Lucas Vazquez by barrelling in to him from behind, but Buffon said he felt the official got the decision wrong. Cristiano Ronaldo scored to seal a 4-3 aggregate win for Los Blancos.

UEFA said the case will be dealt with on May 31, at which point the stopper will have played his last professional game.

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ESPN FC provided footage of some comments made by Buffon in the immediate aftermath of Juve's 3-1 victory in Madrid on April 11, where he referred to Oliver as an "animal" and having "a rubbish bin where the heart should be":

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

“Only someone who has a rubbish bin where the heart should be could make these kind of choices.” Extraordinary stuff from Gigi Buffon. https://t.co/6wWtcEhNOs

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise illustrious European career for the Italian legend, who was a Champions League runner-up on three occasions and made it to the quarter-finals on four other occasions.

Nevertheless, James Horncastle criticised the 40-year-old for his appraisal of Oliver's performance in awarding Vazquez a penalty converted in the 98th minute, via BBC 5 live Sport:

BBC 5 live Sport @5liveSport

"Buffon's comments were irresponsible" @JamesHorncastle on the Italian saying Michael Oliver has "a bag of rubbish for a heart" following his red card against Real Madrid. Listen live 📻📱 https://t.co/GRo8jJi26G https://t.co/waysfmJQL9

Buffon might have been present to attempt stopping Ronaldo's 12-yard attempt himself, but it was Wojciech Szczesny who came on to face the Portuguese after the ex-Italy No. 1 was shown a straight red for dissent.

The goalkeeper stalwart got nose-to-nose with Oliver in protest with the penalty decision and was shown his marching orders. Pundit Chris Sutton agreed Buffon was in the wrong:

Chris Sutton @chris_sutton73

Good to see bully boy Buffon charged by UEFA over his dreadful conduct towards Michael Oliver in Madrid...

One who unsurprisingly appeared to stand in defence of his star was Bianconeri manager Massimiliano Allegri, who found some way to suppose Buffon could benefit from the drama, via Goal:

Goal @goal

Interesting theory from Juventus manager Max Allegri: last week's game in Madrid was...good for Gigi Buffon. 🤔 https://t.co/f31CJei4bC

Buffon has two Serie A fixtures remaining this season and then will depart football for good, but UEFA's charge for his actions of late leaves something of a stain on his Champions League legacy.

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