Gianluigi Buffon slams Michael Oliver, says referees shouldn't 'destroy dreams'

Posted Thursday, April 12, 2018 by ESPN

Gianluigi Buffon slams Michael Oliver, says referees shouldn't 'destroy dreams'

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon questioned the character of referee Michael Oliver for awarding the late penalty that knocked his club out of the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

The Italian side had erased a three-goal deficit from the first leg against Real Madrid and the game was headed to extra time until Medhi Benatia brought down Lucas Vazquez, who just had goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to beat near the six-yard box.

Buffon was sent off for protesting the decision in the face of the English referee, and Cristiano Ronaldo converted the penalty in the 98th minute to put his side through 4-3 on aggregate.

Buffon said Oliver should not have given the penalty so late in the game if it wasn't absolutely clear, and according to the legendary goalkeeper, "it was a tenth of a penalty."

"I know the referee saw what he saw, but it was certainly a dubious incident. Not clear-cut," Buffon told Mediaset after the game. "And a dubious incident at the 93rd minute when we had a clear penalty denied in the first leg, you cannot award that at this point.

"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 garbage bin. 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, drinking your Sprite and eating crisps.

"You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could've told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating. If you can't handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps."

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli had called for the addition of video assistant referees and faulted UEFA for assigning referees who "are against Italian clubs."

But Buffon said it wasn't a matter of having VAR or extra officials, but about the referees recognising game situations.

"It's an issue of sensitivity," he said. "It means you don't know where you are, what teams are facing off, what players are involved. It means you've understood absolutely s---.

"It disappointed me to leave the boys with 10 men, but I said objectively Real Madrid deserved the victory, we shake their hands and move on."

Juventus will now focus on holding on to their slim lead over Napoli in Serie A, and Buffon issued a warning for the clubs remaining on their fixture list.

"We will be furious when stepping on to the pitch in Serie A this weekend," he said. "Furious."

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