UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin refused to condemn Gianluigi Buffon for his “understandable” reaction towards referee Michael Oliver during Juventus’ controversial Champions League tie with Real Madrid.
Juve were on the brink of forcing extra-time in the Champions League quarter-finals, having taken a 3-0 lead at the Santiago Bernabeu after losing by the same score in Turin.
But referee Oliver awarded Madrid a late penalty after Medhi Benatia barged Lucas Vazquez to the ground, with Buffon reacting aggressively and earning a red card for putting his hands on the official.
Buffon then blasted Oliver after the match, accusing him of having a “trash can” for a heart and claiming he did not have the personality to officiate such a game.
Despite Oliver and his wife receiving numerous threats in the wake of the encounter, Ceferin thinks Buffon’s reaction was relatable.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 11, 2018
“What he [Buffon] did was too much, but I understand it perfectly because it was his last chance to win the Champions League,” Ceferin told Marca.
“He is human and understandable. When I play football with my friends and I lose at the last minute… last Saturday in a charity match, the ex-players were fighting with the referee.
“When you play, when you step on the pitch, you want to win and you talk about everything and you comment on everything. It happens to me when I’m playing in Slovenia.
“Half of the world thinks it’s a penalty and the other half thinks it’s not. The referee decided it is and that’s the way football is.
“I understand the anger of Juve because they were eliminated at the last minute, but I would also have understood the anger of Real Madrid had he [Oliver] not whistled and then had been eliminated in extra-time or on penalties.
“It’s football, it’s sport, it’s life. It’s very hard to lose at the last minute.”
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