Andrea Pirlo has defended Gianluigi Buffon for losing his temper after a penalty was awarded in the final seconds of Juventus' Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Real Madrid on Wednesday, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport he would have reacted in the same way.
Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot with seconds left of a game Juve were leading 3-0 -- a result that would have cancelled out the same outcome in the first leg and taken the game to extra time -- after judging that Medhi Benatia had fouled Lucas Vazquez inside the penalty area.
An animated Buffon led Juve's protests, and he was consequently shown a red card by Oliver in what could prove to be the 40-year-old's final appearance in the competition.
Pirlo, the former AC Milan and Juventus midfielder, said that Buffon's behaviour cannot be condoned, but at the same time, he feels he would have reacted in the very same way.
"He was angry and at a time like that, anything can come out of your mouth," Pirlo said. "He would have thought that it was his last chance to win the Champions League. If, out of nowhere, they give a penalty against you, you lose control.
"He may have gone too far, but you've got to understand him. It happens that you react like that when you are robbed in such a way. Of course [I would have done the same]. Something like that makes you go out of your mind. Winning is too nice that when you get deprived of it in such a way."
Pirlo believes Oliver ultimately made the wrong decision, although he admitted it was a call that could have gone either way.
"It's a classic case of interpretation -- you can give it, or you can wave play on," Pirlo said. "With just 10 seconds left on the clock, if you are wise, you don't give it and you let the two teams battle it out for victory in extra time.
"I'm very sorry for Gigi and for the lads. For that to happen 10 seconds from the end of such a beautiful game is incredible."
Nevertheless, Pirlo said Juve really only have themselves to blame for throwing away the first leg, but that the tie also showed that Italian clubs should shed their fear of Spanish opponents.
"We're very good at making others out to be much better than what they are," Pirlo said. "But Juve and Roma have shown that they can be tactically superior to Real [Madrid] and Barcelona. They both deserve huge applause, and now Roma must believe that they can go on and win it.
"I was at the Olimpico on Tuesday and I got emotional. I felt like a Giallorossi fan. Italian football must now lift itself up and build a great future. Bit by bit, a great job can be done."
Oliver Kahn, meanwhile, told Bild that Buffon has already missed the ideal time to retire.
"It's a fundamental question whether you find the best time to retire from football," the former Germany keeper said.
"He could have spared himself a lot: The missed World Cup qualification with Italy or the events in Madrid, for instance. But he's driven by setting new records and the dream of winning Champions League."
Kahn retired from football in 2008, shortly before turning 39. Two years before, he ended his international career after losing his place in Germany's goal to Jens Lehmann ahead of the World Cup.
"If you don't find the right point to leave the game, it can hurt massively," Kahn said. "Philipp Lahm, for instance, found the ideal time, and I realised after the 2006 World Cup that this was it. And I could have played two, three more years at club level in 2008, but why?"
Regardless, Kahn believes that the sending off at the Bernabeu will not tarnish Buffon's career.
"His career will not be measured by this red card or that he never won Champions League," Kahn said. "He won the World Cup, was named best keeper in the world. Those things matter."
ESPN FC's Germany correspondent Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.