Wednesday February 29 2012
Buffon neither a liar nor a cheat

Gigi Buffon’s comments over Sulley Muntari’s ghost goal kicked off a ferocious debate. Serafino Ingardia absolves the Bianconeri No 1 for the latest false-step in his career.

“I have to be honest, it was all moving so quickly that I didn’t realise the ball had crossed the line. Mind you, even if I had realised, I certainly wouldn’t have told the referee!” Gianluigi Buffon probably didn’t expect his post-match comments to be taken so seriously after the most controversial of clashes between Milan and Juventus. But unfortunately, his words ended up being as divisive as the game itself.

Known in the sport for his honesty and cheerful spirit, the light hearted Juventus goalkeeper once again proved to be a danger in the mixed zone. While not being malicious, a legend of Italian football could have expressed himself in better terms as calcio fans were understandably hoping to hear different words.

Buffon certainly has a reputation for being ‘politically incorrect’. Looking at his career, he has been constantly criticised for comments and actions which have been far from the ones of a role model. But while being no saint, his genuine personality has never been doubted.

Whereas it is hard to find a journalist or a fan naïve enough to believe that the majority of Buffon’s colleagues would have done the contrary of what he said, there is also a clear feeling that the goalkeeper would have been better off not sharing his feelings.

Buffon clearly has a tendency for contradictions. Only two weeks ago, following the Juventus-Siena game, the Bianconeri goalkeeper told RaiSport: “If the referee comes to me asking if a corner should be given or not and then does the contrary of what I say, he is not serious enough so next time he encourages me to cheat. I wouldn’t lose my honour over a corner kick – against Udinese the referee asked me the same thing and I told him there was a corner for our opponents.”

Some may assume that Buffon is willing to confess the truth over a corner kick, but wouldn’t do the same if it was a goal like the one against Milan. And in a way, comparing views, it is exactly what the goalkeeper said.

Still, after his Milan-Juve comments, he is determined to stand strong by his point of view. “I would repeat my words again. If I had understood that the ball was over the line then I wouldn’t have said anything. I wouldn’t have buried my team. My conscience is clear. After all, I have set a good example on many other occasions.”

While extreme detractors have gone as far as saying that Cesare Prandelli should strip Buffon of the Italy captaincy, it seems pretty clear that Buffon’s comments were just the latest false step from a ‘keeper who is excellent between the posts but needs some guidance in the media environment.

In the words of a great Juventino such as Michel Platini: “Buffon has gone too far with his words and between Turin and Milan there should not be war. If the referee had asked him and he had said ‘no’, then that would have figured him to be a liar.”

In a way, it is undeniable that Buffon missed a chance to make a special act of good sportsmanship. Like Paolo Di Canio in the Premier League, he could have entered into the fair-play elite.But there is also an undeniable truth – Buffon is neither a liar nor a cheat. Honesty, on this occasion, simply dealt him the wrong cards.

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Have your say...
I wonder if the Milan players would have owned up had it been a Juventus goal? Buffon was just being honest in a misguided way. I actually wish the linesman had got it right. Who knows, we may have equalised anyway and avoided all the controversy. Even if we had lost the match we still have a game in hand and it would have been all the more sweeter to beat Milan to the title.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 2:10pm
In fact I agree with the spirit of the article and no footballer would go to the referee to tell him it was a goal, Buffon was basically wrong in the way he said things. And honestly I strongly doubt that he did not realise the ball was inside the posts since he was looking at the ball when it got to the ground and it was in the line when he took it from behind the line. It was obvious. IMHO he knew it was a goal, of course nobody is asking him to call for the goal but he should remains quiet.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 2:00pm
the italian media is trying their hardest to stir up some controversy. just ignore it people and i'm sure it will blow over come this sundays next round of matches. by then, im sure this weekend the italian media will conjure up a patch of new nonexistent controversy. and we the fans of calcio italiano will deal with those then. we all know how it works. round and round and round...
on the 29th February, 2012 at 1:18pm
The real villain in the whole saga has been Galliani running to the ref at half time to complain. When Juve's bosses used to do that we got demoted to Serie B! If Galliani hadn't have done that would Matri's first goal have stood? We didn't deserve to win but without the pressure on the linesman at half time maybe we would have done.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 1:03pm
Buffon made a mistake in being rather and the ref made a mistake in not seeing the goal- They're only human and people make mistakes. Having said that, Conte's attitude before and after the game didn't help things, I mean you have remained undefeated-what have you got to complain about? I believe his bad attitude has started to seep into the team ethos, I do hope this isn't the case though.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 12:14pm
Buffon is the best keeper of all time, tell me who would have said to the ref oh ref ref the ball went in?? imagine the Juve fans he would have been strung up!!
on the 29th February, 2012 at 12:03pm
Agree with all the other posters and OP this is a joke.

It seems footballers these days need a qualification in media relations or diplomacy otherwise their in general honest comments or views get ripped apart.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 11:21am
This whole thing is beyond a joke.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 10:51am
Great Article.



on the 29th February, 2012 at 10:49am
1- Any player would have done what buffon did.
2- He is the best goalkeeper of all time
3- The backlash on Buffon's comments are stupid and extremely uneccessary
4- He is the only juventus player who doesnt dive :) and cry like a little girl everytime he is touched.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 10:46am
I'm also surprised at the backlash facing Buffon for his honest comments. All things considered his comments were a bit inappropriate considering the hostile atmosphere between the two clubs following the match. However, if truth be told all footballers would take advantage of a bad call by the match officials if it benefits their team. This happens a multitude of times during each match week in week out.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 10:44am
refrees should be careful in there actions.if they didn't see what happen they stop and ask their assistance before deciding.
on the 29th February, 2012 at 10:32am
there's a difference between lying and not telling the truth. no one would go out of their way to tell the ref he made a mistake (unless of course the mistake was against them). and if a player is specifically asked then the most common reply would probably be 'i'm not sure'. ironically it's his honesty that gets him into trouble here, by admitting to doing what anyone else would do too. u get enough rough calls in a season, that u gotta take advantage of the ones that come your way
on the 29th February, 2012 at 10:30am
Although I do not support Juve, I am surprised at the backlash against Buffon. It is true what he says. If Juve were winning 4-0, then would he have come out and accepted the goal? Sure he would (!!).

You are facing your title rivals. They were about to go 2-0 up and luckily the referee missed it. Seriously, would you run to the ref and claim it was a goal, and damage your team's chances? You might get an ego boost in the short term, but that doesn't help your team does it?
on the 29th February, 2012 at 10:22am

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