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Gianluigi Buffon suspended for three matches by UEFA following red card meltdown

Gianluigi Buffon has been banned for three matches for his red card and comments about referee Michael Oliver after Juventus’ Champions League quarter-final defeat against Real Madrid.

The goalkeeper was dismissed when he aggressively confronted the Premier League official following the injury-time award of a penalty against his side, leading to Real’s winning goal.

Buffon then launched a verbal attack when he said that Oliver had ‘a rubbish bin where his heart should be’. Both the referee and his wife, Lucy, were the subject of online abuse and had to be offered police support. 

 Gianluigi Buffon has been handed a three-game ban for his conduct against Real Madrid

But UEFA have finally acted to punish the 40-year-old, who has since left Juventus but will be suspended for three games should his new club take part in European competition next season. The ban is one game for his red card and two for his ‘general principles of conduct’.

Buffon spoke about the incident after being hit with the UEFA charge last month. Still, though, he tried to justify his actions.

‘I still don’t understand why the referee sent me off – and you, rather than focusing on my comments, should look at behaviour from the official that was not really consistent,’ he said. 

Buffon was sent off for Juventus against Real Madrid after protesting to referee Michael Oliver

Buffon was sent off for Juventus against Real Madrid after protesting to referee Michael Oliver

‘I said a few days later that I went over the line and that’s evident. I am extremely sorry about that, as over 23 years of my Champions League career, I was never sent off or suspended, so I feel that I behaved fairly and in a sporting manner with everyone. 

‘It was a particular situation and a few days later I confessed the Buffon of that day, with the sentiments and feelings of that night, couldn’t help but say those things.

‘A few days later, clearly, I was sorry to have ‘offended’ the referee, because at the end of the day he is a human being who does a very difficult job. 

Oliver awarded Madrid a penalty in 93rd minute for Mehdi Benatia's foul on Lucas Vazquez

Oliver awarded Madrid a penalty in 93rd minute for Mehdi Benatia’s tackle on Lucas Vazquez

‘If I’d seen him two days later, I’d have hugged Michael Oliver and apologised, but also said he could have been a bit calmer in such an important game for us and for me.’

Buffon was incensed when, with Juve having clawed back a three-goal deficit from the first leg, Oliver pointed to the spot in the 93rd minute after Mehdi Benatia’s clumsy challenge on Lucas Vazquez inside the six-yard area.

Pundits and former referees later said that Oliver was correct to award the penalty, converted by Cristiano Ronaldo after a lengthy delay during which Buffon was sent off. 


UEFA have blown a golden chance. They should have banned Gianluigi Buffon for a significant period — enough to deter any other player from acting as he did.

The Juventus goalkeeper was rightly sent off by English referee Michael Oliver for prolonged and vehement objections to Real Madrid being given a penalty. Buffon was not content with objecting on the field, he continued his verbal assault after the match and the day after!

Abuse and threats suffered by Oliver and his wife Lucy can’t be blamed directly on Buffon but it is hard not to believe that they are linked. If players (and managers) accepted decisions, fans would be less inclined to ‘have a go’ in the street.

UEFA like to be consistent with punishments for misconduct — hence Buffon getting a three-match ban, one for the offence and two for the outburst after the game.

But now they are tied to applying an additional two-match ban when the next abuser unloads on a referee.