Buffon charged by UEFA after referee rant

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Buffon

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was charged by UEFA on Friday over his comments about referee Michael Oliver after the Italian side’s dramatic Champions League quarter-final loss to Real Madrid last month.

The 40-year-old has been charged both with breaching UEFA’s “general principles of conduct” over his outburst and also for his red card for dissent.

European football’s governing body said the case will be dealt with on May 31.

The last-eight clash between holders Real and Juventus was decided by a last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo penalty after the Serie A champions had staged a remarkable comeback to wipe out a 3-0 first-leg deficit at the Santiago Bernabeu.

But Buffon, who was sent off in the aftermath of the penalty decision, lashed out at Oliver’s decision to award the spot-kick, saying the English official had a “rubbish bin for a heart”.

“You have to be a murderer to make the last two decisions the referee made,” Juve captain Buffon said.

“You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could’ve told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating.

“If you can’t handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps.”

The 2006 World Cup-winner is set to retire at the end of the current season, so any potential ban from European football may not affect his future.

Buffon later defended his comments, saying the drama made him “feel alive”.

Although the goalkeeper was widely criticised for his comments, referee Oliver and his wife Lucy were both targeted on social media in the days after the game and were offered police support.

Buffon has never won the Champions League in his illustrious 23-year career.

He could win a fourth straight Serie A and Italian Cup double this weekend as his Juventus side look to clinch the league title when they play Roma on Sunday, having thrashed AC Milan 4-0 in Wednesday’s Cup final.

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