Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon this afternoon issued a public and sincere apology to referee Michael Oliver, following the Italian veteran’s comments regarding the official in the wake of his side’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Real Madrid.
The Bianconeri went head to head with European champions Real in the second-leg of their Champions League quarter-final matchup last month, after Los Blancos had seemingly put the tie to bed with a 3-0 first-leg win in Turin.
However, a stunning 2nd-leg showing from the Serie A giants saw Juve take a 3-0 lead at the Bernabeu, before the hard work of Max Allegri’s men was undone by a controversial last-minute penalty call, which subsequently saw Gianluigi Buffon given his marching orders and Cristiano Ronaldo convert the ensuing spot-kick.
Following the full-time whistle in the Spanish capital, Gigi Buffon allowed his emotions to spill over in a post-match interview, with the Bianconeri icon having slammed referee Michael Oliver as having a ‘rubbish bin for a heart’, among other things.
Buffon was heavily criticized for his outburst by the English media, with many having pleaded with the Italian veteran to issue a public apology.
And though Buffon stood by his criticism in the weeks that followed, the shot-stopper this afternoon changed his tone, by admitting that his 2-match UEFA ban for misconduct was wholly justified, and that he had undoubtedly ‘crossed the line’ with his abuse of Oliver.
Speaking at a press conference during which he made official his departure from Juventus at the end of the season, Buffon explained:
‘I think it (my ban) is right.’
‘Not on the pitch, as the referee gave me a red card which I still don’t understand and you, rather than focusing on my comments, should look at behaviour from the official that was not really consistent.’
‘As for what I said off the pitch, I said a few days later that I crossed the line and that’s clear.’
‘I am extremely sorry about that, as over 23 years of Champions League career, I was never sent off or suspended, so I feel that I behaved fairly and in a sporting manner with everyone.’
‘It was a particular situation and a few days later I confessed the Buffon of that day, with the sentiments and feelings of that night, couldn’t help but say those things.’
‘A few days later, as I said to your colleagues from ‘Le Iene’, I was sorry to have ‘offended’ the referee, because at the end of the day he is a human being who does a very difficult job.’
‘If I’d seen him two days later, I’d have hugged Michael Oliver and apologised, but also said he could’ve been a bit calmer in such an important game for us and for me.’
‘Nothing more though. I am not someone who carries rancour.’