Tag Archives: Gianluigi Buffon

“I am Gigi Buffon.” — Juve keeper stands by Michael Oliver comments

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Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon says that he stands by the comments he made about referee Michael Oliver after their dramatic Champions League quarter-final exit to Real Madrid.

The 40-year old was sent off for dissent after Oliver awarded Real an injury-time penalty, and later said the official had “a trash can for a heart” after Juve had come back from losing 3-0 at home to lead 3-0 at the Bernabeu in the second leg of the last-eight tie on Wednesday.

However, Oliver awarded the Spanish side a 93rd-minute penalty for Mehdi Benatia’s foul on Lucas Vazquez, which Cristiano Ronaldo scored to send Real through 4-3 on aggregate.

Buffon said after the game that it was a “dubious incident” and, speaking again on Saturday, he said he had been defending “my teammates and fans, even in a not very composed fashion”.

“The content remains and I stand by all of it,” the keeper said. “I’d say them all again – maybe with a different type of language.”

“You find a way to speak, right or wrong, that at times can seem excessive – but this is me, I am Gigi Buffon.”

He added that he still believed 33-year-old Oliver lacked experience.

“I’m sure Oliver will have a great career in future, but he’s too young to officiate a match like that. A referee with more experience would not have blown his whistle and decided not to become the protagonist of the match. He would have left it running, turned around and let the two teams fight it out in extra time. Let the pitch do the talking.”

Police are currently investigating threatening text messages sent to Oliver’s wife, Lucy, after she was abused on fans on social media.

Last minute Ronaldo penalty sends Real Madrid to semi-finals

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s last-minute penalty sends defending Real Madrid through to the Champions League semi-finals after his vital goal held off a stunning Juventus comeback (3-1, 4-3 on aggregate).

The Portuguese’s coolly taken 97th-minute spot-kick into the top corner came after Medhi Benatia brought down Lucas Vazquez in the box, meaning that he has now scored 10 Champions League goals against Juventus — the most by one player against a one opponent in the competition.

Juventus captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, in what might be his last Champions League appearance, was sent off for dissent by referee Michael Oliver after the spot-kick.

His first Champions League red card was also Juventus’ sixth in the competition against Real Madrid — more than any team has had against another opponent in the competition.

It was possibly the veteran’s last game in Europe, which drew comparisons with Real boss Zinedine Zidane when his France playing career ended with a sending off at the 2006 World Cup final for a headbutt on Italy defender Marco Materazzi.

Real, Champions League winners in three of the past four seasons, came into the second leg leading 3-0, helped by Ronaldo’s stunning bicycle kick.

However, Serie A leaders got off to a perfect start when Mario Mandzukic headed in from Sami Khedira’s cross after just seventy-six seconds and did it again eight-minutes before half-time.

Already one-goal away from equalling Real’s lead, Blaise Matuidi pounced to capitalise on Keylor Navas’ fumble to level the tie on aggregate before the dramatic ending.

Real Madrid will now join Liverpool, Roma and Bayern Munich in the last-four draw, which takes place in Nyon on Friday.

Buffon: Cristiano Ronaldo is an “assassin”

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Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon has described Cristiano Ronaldo as an “assassin” in front of goal ahead the Bianconeri’s Champions League quarter-final fixture against Real Madrid.

Ronaldo, 33, has hit 21 goals in his last 11 Real Madrid appearances and he also struck a late brace to help Portugal come from behind to beat Egypt last week.

He also beat Buffon twice in Real’s 4-1 victory in last season’s Champions League final in Cardiff as the Madrid star face the veteran goalkeeper again in the first leg of the quarter-final on April 3.

Still, there could yet be hope for Juve as the Portuguese captain drew a blank in Portugal’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Netherlands on Tuesday, ending a phenomenal run of goalscoring for the forward.

Buffon, however, insisted that Ronaldo’s influence on the game is not to be underestimated and that — even as the forward approaches what was retirement age for many footballers he learns to cope by changing and improving himself.

“Over time he has learned how to improve himself as an athlete,” Buffon said. “As a player, he spends less energy with respect to what he did previously. I admire him a lot because he is a pragmatic person, lucid in everything he does and what he says.”

“I think that in recent years he has shown that he is very intelligent, because he has changed his way of playing. He is also lethal, everything he does is at 100 percent and in front of the goal he is an assassin.”

Juventus will face Real Madrid on Tuesday at home in Turin, but would first have to host Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan team as they try to keep their distance away from Napoli’s tight challenge at the top of the Serie A table.

Buffon hits out at critics as veteran returns to international squad

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Gianluigi Buffon has hit out at his critics as he arrived in England to add to his 175 record cap tally with Italy.

Buffon, 40, had previously announced his retirement from international football after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup last November but later reversed his decision, and was retained as captain by the caretaker coach Luigi Di Biagio who will lead the side out in friendlies against Argentina in Manchester on Friday and England at Wembley next Tuesday.

The Juventus keeper’s decision has attracted some criticism but the Juventus No 1 insists he is still the best man for the job, saying: “I’ve nothing to add to what has been said. Everyone knows the truth. My role in the squad has always been positive and I’ve always brought people together. I’ve always put us before me.”

“I’m not here to showcase, to show myself off. I can still be useful. I might be 40 but I’m the goalkeeper of Juventus. Italy is a funny country where people enjoy controversy but any controversy about me is just sensationalism. After a while all this controversy will just fall away.”

Buffon had also previously hinted that this season could be his last but he does not appear to have any retirement plans yet.

Speaking at a press conference at the Etihad Stadium, Buffon added: “I don’t know if my last match will be with Juventus or an international but it will be low key and sober, normal. I arrived at my first game on a scooter and the only car I have is the one that Juventus make available for me.”

Di Biagio, who has stepped up from duties with the Under-21 side, hopes the four friendlies in the remainder of the season can help Italy move on from their World Cup nightmare. Russia 2018 will be the first finals to take place without four-time world champions Italy for 60 years.

The games also provide a chance for Di Biagio to stake a claim for the job full-time but he insists that is not his focus. “Everything around the team has changed. We need a new start,” he said.

“We have a small world championship in these four matches. It is a chance to test new players. We need patience and consistency, regardless of who is going to be in the driving seat.”