Gianluigi Buffon's legacy not tarnished by Madrid meltdown

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Zizou's presence on the sidelines at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night rendered those words strangely prescient. What a curious twist of fate. china nfl jerseys wholesale Buffon witnessed Zidane plant his head into Marco Materazzi's chest from Italy's goal in the 2006 World Cup final. Flash forward 12 years and the roles have been reversed. Buffon's moment of madness came in what was billed as his last appearance on the Champions League stage.

Buffon likes to say you need sana follia (craziness of the good, healthy kind) in order to achieve great things. To some though, his push on referee Michael Oliver and the extraordinary comments that followed were just crazy. It brought back memories of Buffon's youth, when he had a reputation as an Ultra in gloves and didn't always count to 10 before saying or doing something.

Those days seemed behind him. Over the years, the Juventus and Italy captain has become statesmanlike. He almost always finds the right words and has an acute sense of responsibility; he doesn't go looking for scapegoats. Buffon invariably looks at himself or his team first. Within that context Wednesday's comments seemed out of character.

Alessandro Del Piero, Buffon's predecessor as Juventus captain, said: "When Gigi spoke about the referee... honestly, I found it hard to understand." And he went on to express the opinion that his former teammate would think differently about his comments in the cold light of the coming days.

Regardless of what you make of the controversy, Buffon's emotional response was understandable.

There were two stages of incredulity. The first was that Juventus found themselves on the brink of one of the greatest comebacks ever in this competition -- tied at 3-3 after losing the first leg 3-0. The second stage was that 10 seconds from extra time, it all went up in smoke. Buffon's career in the Champions League looked dead a week ago, then it came back to life. It might have extended to another two or three games had Juve progressed after extra time and with both Spanish sides out -- Juventus' nemeses in 2015 and 2017 -- they maybe would have ended their (and Buffon's) long wait for this trophy.

How well they played against Madrid, china wholesale nfl jerseys and the fact it came in their tormentors' own backyard, left them with the conviction that this team isn't finished. Giorgio Chiellini seems more persuaded than ever that Juventus' time will come. That is why it wouldn't come as a surprise if Buffon were to come back next year.

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