Juventus icon Buffon sorry for Oliver rant

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The legendary goalkeeper concedes that he acted out of line when seeing red towards the end of a Champions League quarter-final clash with Real Madrid

Gianluigi Buffon admits to being “extremely sorry” for the referee rant which led to him being dismissed by Michael Oliver during Juventus’ Champions League quarter-final clash with Real Madrid.

With emotions running high towards the end of a thrilling contest at Santiago Bernabeu, tempers boiled over when the hosts were awarded a stoppage-time penalty.

Buffon, incensed at Michael Oliver’s decision to pull Medhi Benatia up for a nudge on Lucas Vazquez, led the protests and earned himself a red card – preventing him from facing a spot-kick which Cristiano Ronaldo eventually converted to send Madrid through.

The 40-year-old goalkeeper would later accuse the English match official of having “a garbage bin for a heart” and claimed to have no regrets at having aired his opinion in the manner in which he did.

Buffon has, however, had time to reflect since then and speaking at a press conference in which a summer departure from Juventus was confirmed, he said: “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 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.”

He added: “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.

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

“Nothing more than that. I am not someone who carries bitterness.”

That outing against Madrid may prove to be Buffon’s last in Champions League competition, as his future remains unclear.

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He has stopped short of announcing his retirement and admitted to having received a number of exciting proposals, in both on and off-field roles.

Were he to join another leading club then a quest to land European football’s biggest prize for the first time in his career may continue, although he will be due to serve a ban.

He has offered no indication as where he will end up in 2018-19, but the exit door has opened in Turin and an iconic figure is moving on with his conscience clear.