The days he has had to consider his comments following Juventus' dramatic exit from the Champions League on Wednesday night have not changed much regarding Gianluigi Buffon's thoughts about referee Michael Oliver.
"Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a garbage bin," the 40-year-old told Mediaset Premium after the game in reference to Oliver's decision to award Real Madrid a late, decisive penalty.
"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."
“I had to let that out, even if it damaged my reputation," Buffon told Le Iene, an Italian television show.
Given time to contemplate his words, he said that he may have chosen more civilised ones but the sentiment would remain the same.
I don’t have to make up for anything, because I am a human being who puts passion, sentiment and anger into what I do.
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 won’t 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. I’d say them all again. Maybe with a different type of language, one that was more civilised, let’s say. But the content remains and I stand by all of it.
Buffon believes that had Juventus managed to progress, it would have been a great moment not just for the club but - taking into account Roma's comeback win against Barcelona on the previous evening - also one for Italian football.
"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 would’ve left it running, turned around and let the two teams fight it out in extra time. Let the pitch do the talking.
“I’m sure Oliver will have a great career in future, but he’s 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 don’t hold any rancour towards Oliver. I’m not even angry with him. It all ended there, but naturally in the heat of the moment one does feel I’m not saying penalised... I felt defrauded. Not defrauded of the result, but of the night. It was a night that can never be repeated."
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