Milan (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has defended Gianluigi Buffon and labelled him “a role model for over 20 years” after the goalkeeper saw red against Champions League conquerors Real Madrid for a furious rant at the referee.
Buffon was sent off for dissent in the final minute of a 3-1 quarter-final, second leg defeat at Madrid after confronting English referee Michael Oliver over his decision to award the hosts a penalty in time added-on.
The 40-year-old Juventus captain has come under fire for a post-match rant in which he called Oliver “a murderer” with “a rubbish bin” in place of a heart.
But Allegri said Buffon’s outburst was “understandable” after Oliver “slightly lost his way” in a tense finale that saw Madrid advance to the semi-finals 4-3 on aggregate.
“For over 20 years, Gianluigi Buffon has been a role model both on and off the pitch,” Allegri said on Saturday.
“If on one occasion he said the things he did, in a situation as tough as Wednesday night’s, that is understandable and I challenge anyone to react differently.
“It’s always easy to judge from the outside.
“The referee had a very good game for 90 minutes, he really did. He then slightly lost his way at the end, like when you pull up a Monopoly card with an unpredictable twist, but these things can happen.
“I don’t know if it was correct or not, I don’t care, but Buffon was also sent off and therefore denied the opportunity to save the Cristiano Ronaldo penalty. Gigi’s reaction is to be understood.”
Juventus play Sampdoria on Sunday as the Serie A champions bid for a seventh straight title with Napoli four points behind in second.
“Enough talk now about Real Madrid, we’re thinking about Sampdoria,” continued Allegri.
“We’ve got Napoli breathing down our necks, so we have to keep pushing and find some more psychological energy. This is an objective that cannot be repeated, a seventh consecutive Scudetto. We absolutely cannot let that slip.”
Meanwhile, Allegri said he had not yet spoken to club bosses concerning his own future with the Turin giants. The 50-year-old signed a new deal last year until 2020.
“I haven’t met (club) President (Andrea) Agnelli yet, we usually meet between March and April. We need to talk about what we have to do or we should do next year.
“I’m still young, I want to coach. Matches like that in Madrid increase your desire to continue.”