Monday April 16 2018
Buffon storm must end

Gigi Buffon must find a way to both express his passion and calm the media frenzy that risks damaging his reputation, writes Richard Thomas.

The extent of the furore caused by Gigi Buffon's reaction to the Real Madrid penalty has gone too far - but the Italy number one should apologise in full.

Make no mistake - what the 40-year-old did was wrong. Although understandable in the heat of the moment, his initial, aggressive reaction to Michael Oliver's decision to award Los Blancos an injury time spot-kick in last week's Champions League quarter final second leg was wrong. He was deservedly shown a red card for foul-mouthed dissent and with it, the chance to save Cristiano Ronaldo's winning penalty.

It was also wrong of Buffon to heap ridicule on Oliver post-match, accusing the Englishman of having “a rubbish bin for a heart” and that he should have been “in the stand...eating crisps and drinking Sprite” rather than officiating a match between two heavyweights of world football.

Buffon's hysterical comments caused Oliver a great deal of offence - both professionally and personally - culminating in the sad news that he and his wife had received death threats in the days that followed the controversy at the Bernabeu. Though obviously not the perpetrator of that crime, Buffon must see that his comments were the catalyst for the events that followed.

Finally, it was wrong of Buffon to stop short of a full apology when questioned on the matter in the build up to Juve's Serie A match with Sampdoria on Sunday. Though the goalkeeper admitted he would have used 'different words' to criticise Oliver with the benefit of hindsight, he by and large stood by his comments - comments that did a lot of damage to the reputations of both Oliver and himself.

This is not to say that Buffon must admit Oliver was right to award the spot-kick. Although in my opinion it was the correct decision, football was, is and always will be the world's most hotly-debated sport. The Juve shot-stopper is fully entitled to disagree with the decision and criticise it if he sees fit.

Though petty and not at all to be condoned, neither was Buffon's on-field reaction to Oliver's decision unique in the slightest. What's more, it received the punishment it warranted at the time. It wasn't pretty to watch and undermined the various ongoing campaigns from football's governing bodies to show officials greater levels of respect, but Buffon is far, far from alone in having crossed that line.

To suggest, as some have, that the veteran's legacy will be tainted when he hangs up his gloves for good because he showed dissent is absurd. Comparisons to Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup are equally ludicrous. Shouting at a referee after a contentious decision is hardly the same thing as GBH.

Buffon is also far, far from alone in criticising match officials in the aftermath of a closely-fought contest. What he should apologise for are his choice of words and - most importantly - the ramifications that they caused for Oliver on a human level. 

Buffon justified his post-match rant by saying his passionate outburst was merely a case of his being who he is - 'I am Gigi Buffon.' That is the problem. Those who are pointing to his famous comment that he wouldn’t have told the referee Sulley Muntari’s ‘phantom’ goal was over the line, even if he had seen it behind his head, are missing the crux of the matter.

It would be easy to apologise unreservedly and sweep the whole thing under the carpet, but he wouldn’t mean it. It would’ve been easy to say he’d confess to the Milan goal, but it wouldn’t have been true. Honesty is not always the best policy and it certainly isn’t when dealing with the delicate diplomacy of international football.

If he could be the Gigi Buffon who, as Max Allegri rightly said, has by and large been an exemplary and classy role model throughout his glittering 20-year career, it would draw a line under this media storm that has been howling ever since. 

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
People who say you can't award a penalty with 20 seconds to go are simply wrong. A foul is a foul no matter when it occurs in the game.

Rules are there to regulate the game, if they weren't applied it would be chaos and no one would enjoy it at all. Football simply wouldn't exist without rules - and you can't bend rules depending on the situation - that is simply stupid to suggest.

It is undisputed that it was a foul. Oliver was right and strong to call it. He deserves high praise.
on the 17th May, 2018 at 11:45am
Absolutely terrible article obviously written from a lefty Richard Thomas .. I hear CNN wants guys like you!! Yes the Blue and Pink's ugly face got involved with this game
and this is why the continued anger from Buffon spilled out after the game as well!
No real Referee would ever make a call like that in any big game! Richard no italian cares what you think about the subject take your bias opinions else where, what was worse was watching that clown Ronaldo make a fool of himself after the g
on the 21st April, 2018 at 6:58pm
@Paolo: "foreign fanboy"? Why does it matter where a football fan is from? You don't have to be Italian to follow calcio.
Your comment is the embodiment of fascism you just accused Gigi of flirting with. You are either ignorant, racist or both to use such cheap-shot stupid points to explain your ridiculous ideas.

Don't you realize you are on an ENGLISH website covering Italian football? Go fetch.
on the 20th April, 2018 at 9:09pm
It's time Oliver admits his "influenced" mistake!

More so: ................... KOLLINA OUT!

End Real Madrid excessive manipulation of UEFA

Viva Gigi Buffon!

Mai Come Noi Nessuno!
on the 20th April, 2018 at 6:02am
Richard writting must end!!
on the 19th April, 2018 at 8:39am
Why is it still a big issue!! it was a clear penalty!! and if you think theres a conspiracy against italian clubs.. the head of the referee association itselff Pierluigi Collina is a damn italian!! and he said buffon was wrong and the referee made the correct decision. and no one has ever critized collina and stands firm with his decision throughout his refereeing career! Sometimes it hurts to lose.. but to just blame it on the referee is just nonsense.
on the 19th April, 2018 at 7:44am
Deffo very, very happy with the 4 points lead, as Mr Allegri states.

We missed Manzo against Crotone!

A surprise buy could be VERDI from Bologna as they are interested in a few Juventus players.
on the 19th April, 2018 at 5:01am
TO hell with UEFA, Oliver and corrupt officials everywhere!! Time for them to be held accountable for their actions!!!
on the 18th April, 2018 at 2:00pm
Thinking of wacking quite a few of the imbecilli here is not a virtue but an option, said Toni Soprano after a few glasses of chianti.

Talking of Howedes I'd renew the prestito oneroso 100%, the German is a good player.

As understudy for Szcz I'd opt for the experience of Marchetti.

Having Howedes-Benatia-Chiellini, if need be, for the home grown player rule, I'd bring back Romagna, and loan out, or sell with the buyback clause, Caldara to a good outfit for a season.
on the 18th April, 2018 at 1:48pm
So if UEFA have an Anti Italian agenda why were Roma given a penalty? Why were Roma goals not disallowed? Why were Barcelona not given a penalty?
on the 18th April, 2018 at 10:56am
Ravanelli - You have watched too many episodes of the Suppranos. The ironic thing is that the referee is English. English clubs have been victimized for years because it is acceptable in other countries to roll around faking injury, looking through fingers while holding your face to see the colour of the card etc. Excuses are for losers as Juventus fans like to say so often.
on the 18th April, 2018 at 10:17am
Richard Thomas you might wanna apply for Huffington post because you are no sports writer. I hear they are hiring. As for footballitalia, your site is great for news and I view it daily but god the articles these past few months have all been either stating the obvious or apologistic none sense like this. I'm not even a Juve fan but I'm with Buffon 100%, of course the death threats are horrible but what has Buffon got to do with it. This site better improve the writing personnel.
on the 18th April, 2018 at 8:11am
Englishman stop writing articles, this is'nt your strong side. You are probably a leftist too...seeing as you have no clue about righteousness blaming Buffon.

You should be ashamed of your fellow countryman for what he did. But maybe to self-centered to see own mistakes??
on the 17th April, 2018 at 8:59pm
Buffon's reaction surely has its roots in the unfamiliarity of English refs with the concept of the captain having a right to question the officials. Also, Michael Oliver, like all English referees, went into a blind panic in the heat of the moment. Buffon actually did nothing to deserve a red card, this was no Paolo Di Canio push. And the legendary keeper was right when he stated that Oliver's actions were not in the spirit of the game. As for death-threats, yeah yeah we all get them.
on the 17th April, 2018 at 8:40pm
Surely the comparisons with Zidane are NOT about the offence but the tainting of the legacy.

Few remember Zidane's football when that red card overshadows it. It could be the same with Buffon.
on the 17th April, 2018 at 7:05pm
@ the hypocrite

"We would all accept if Buffoon apologized but peoples lives are being threatened"

We don't need you to accept anything. Calling a legend a "buffoon" shows what your comment is really about. Oh your concerned about people's lives, precious you.

Buffon's comments are irrelevant because this is not the first time nor the last time that refs receive threats.

Taking jabs at a legend because he had an outburst of human anger in understandable circumstances. All of you are showing what this is really about.

Bravo, let it all out...
on the 17th April, 2018 at 12:17pm
@ The irony

Because you have no bias against Juve that will cloud the judgment of your "objective brain"? No bias at all in your case...

You should become a referee or we should clone you since you are augmented with an "objective brain" unlike the rest of humanity.

Look, those 2 calls have been discussed enough in the last few years, and you can pause the video and slow it down to see where the contact was specially on the 2nd one since it had better angles.


Pjanic's right foot. Clearly ON the line.

"field of play is marked with lines. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries."

Let alone the fact that this is a league game vs a knock out stage in the CL in the 93rd minute that you're comparing.

Whatever, make up your own "objective" mind...
on the 17th April, 2018 at 12:08pm
That's called Karma.
on the 17th April, 2018 at 8:33am
buffon has nothing to apologize for. his comments in fact may fuel the introduction of VAR and the changing of referee designators every 2 years. however I think he should retire from juve and the azzurri. he can still keep at a high level but it is clear that his reflexes have slowed. no one wants to see him keep crying and angry tantrums. leave on a high. win the scudetto and coppa italia and in your last c.league game u won at the bernabeau. sometimes the c.league win trophy isn't meant to be
on the 17th April, 2018 at 7:15am
ciao amici!
dear friend!
your comments about BUFFON are absolutely wrong&nonsense!
I can't understand why you have such a bitterness towards him!
I don't think you are ITALIAN!!! if you were you would respect the man who won us 2006 WC he conceded only one goal!!
the man who when sings the national anthem with all his love for ITALY!
amazing goalie/icon/legend!! even my friends who are AS ROMA/NAPOLI fans respect him!
hopefully you would be more fair to him as he made us a proud nation!
on the 17th April, 2018 at 6:40am
Fed up of Football Italia lies. Buffon was right to react the way he did and that decision was faaaar from a proper call when there is only 20 seconds left. Shame on you for writing this article. Oliver is too young to ref such heavy games
on the 17th April, 2018 at 5:46am
Totally agree with @JoeBito.

Threats to Referee must be condemned unequivocally ... but saying they were spurred by Buffons reaction is taking biasedness too far and adding insult to injury.
Buffon shouldn't say anything more on the matter .....
on the 17th April, 2018 at 3:05am
This is nonsense. Buffon could have praised Oliver as the epitome of officiating brilliance and said that it was an ironclad penalty and the Olivers would have come in for the same abuse because Twitter is Twitter. Nothing he says will influence the actions of some loser in his mother's basement with 15 Twitter followers.
on the 16th April, 2018 at 10:28pm
Why should it end? Every single time Italian journalists speak like this they damage Italian football. Someone should not be condemned for speaking the truth. We teach our children to speak the truth so why should adults and heroes be any different. Buffon said the correct thing. Every single year Real Madrid and Barcelona get ref calls in their favor while Italian teams have them go against them such as AC Milan vs Arsenal, Juventus vs Bayern Munich etc.
on the 16th April, 2018 at 9:24pm
Karma yes. That why Milan, and Inter suck today.
on the 16th April, 2018 at 8:33pm
on the 16th April, 2018 at 8:25pm
Buffon accepted a move to Milan in 2006 but stayed after the club got money from Zlatan and Vieira. Notice how he never took a paycut when Juve was relegated.

All this is basic knowledge if your italian and follow football. Nobody cares what you foreign fanboys think.
on the 16th April, 2018 at 8:09pm
Del Piero was talking about Juve fans that critized him for critizising Buffon. Excactly like the fanboy Rez.
Its basic knowledge that Buffon is not more liked. I dont care about either of them, but i respect Alex, because he never made any scandals in Italy.

Buffon gambled on his own matches when he was young, flirted with fascism , and is known for being quite stupid and boring when he talks.

Young people laugh at his over the top pretend nationalism when he sing our national anthem.
on the 16th April, 2018 at 7:53pm
@Ravanelli: yes, I have eyes and an objective brain to go with them, both fouls (handball Maicon + foul Pjanic) were outside of the penalty box.

Maybe you need VAR to show that that is 100% true? Or different glasses instead of your black and white striped ones will probably do in your case....
on the 16th April, 2018 at 7:23pm
Benatia a month ago:"people always cry wolf and complain about referees when losing vs Juve, I had the same when I played for Roma. Now I see it is just jealousy."

Benatia after Madrid-Juve:"disgusting, I don't know if I want to keep on playing foorball after these disgraceful injustices."


The hypocracy of Juventus shown to all the world, double standards if ever there were....
on the 16th April, 2018 at 7:19pm

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