MADRID • Gianluigi Buffon has lived through all of football's highs and lows, from winning the World Cup with Italy to getting relegated with Juventus because of a match-fixing scandal.
Even then, his exit from the Champions League on Wednesday will rank as one of the most dramatic events in his career.
In the dying moments, he was shown a red card (top right) - in what could be his last match in the competition - for angrily protesting a penalty that allowed title-holders Real Madrid to advance to the semi-finals 4-3 on aggregate.
As the veteran goalkeeper left the field under the applause of the Santiago Bernabeu, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped forward to take the penalty. The Portuguese's winning kick made him the first player to score in 11 consecutive Champions League games.
For Real, it was enough to keep alive their dream of a third consecutive Champions League trophy, although they lost 1-3 on the night.
For Juve and Buffon, it was a heartbreaking end to a game that had long appeared on course to become another comeback win by an Italian team over a Spanish rival. On Tuesday, Roma's 3-0 victory against Barcelona saw them progress to the semi-finals on away goals after the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.
3 Champions League controversial moments
REAL 4 BAYERN 2 (APRIL 2017)
The German champions were left seething after three contentious decisions from referee Viktor Kassai turned the quarter-final second leg on its head.
The tie was finely poised before Bayern's task became insurmountable after they were reduced to 10 men in the 84th minute, despite TV replays showing that Arturo Vidal won the ball clearly.
Cristiano Ronaldo then scored two offside goals before Marco Asensio added another in extra time, as the title-holders won 6-3 on aggregate.
CHELSEA 1 BARCA 1 (MAY 2009)
Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo received death threats and became the subject of a massive online hate campaign after he turned down a succession of four Chelsea penalty appeals - three of them were clear - during the second leg of the semi-final.
Chelsea had taken a 1-0 lead at Stamford Bridge but were sucker-punched when Andres Iniesta's stunning strike at the death meant Barcelona made it into the final on away goals.
LIVERPOOL 1 CHELSEA 0 (MAY 2005)
With managers Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho cancelling each other's sides out in the semi-final second leg, another dour goal-less draw seemed inevitable before Spaniard Luis Garcia's "ghost goal" - which Mourinho called it as the ball never completely crossed the line.
The term has since been etched into football's lexicon.
The 40-year-old was left incandescent by English referee Michael Oliver's decision to award Real the stoppage-time penalty after Lucas Vazquez had tumbled under the challenge of Medhi Benatia with extra time just 30 seconds away.
"It was a 10th of a penalty... a human being cannot destroy dreams like that at the end of an extraordinary comeback on a dubious situation," he told Italian broadcaster Mediaset Premium.
"Clearly, you cannot have a heart in your chest but a garbage bin," he added of Oliver.
Replays, however, showed that there was contact between Benatia and Vazquez, who was denied a chance to score. Former English Premier League and World Cup referee Graham Poll told The Daily Mail that Oliver made the right call.
"Oliver rightly and courageously awarded a penalty," he said. "Surrounded and disgracefully harassed by half a dozen or so menacing Juventus players, led by their talismanic captain Buffon, Oliver stayed calm and correctly dismissed the goalkeeper for his aggressive protests."
Buffon's former team-mate and now TV pundit Alessandro del Piero said: "I am very close to Gigi but when he spoke about the referee I couldn't understand him.
"I understand it's a frustrating situation but I think that he will think about what he said and possibly say different words in a few days."
Before Oliver's intervention, the Italian champions led the return leg 3-0. They lost 3-0 in Turin last week. Mario Mandzukic headed home twice in the first half before Blaise Matuidi capitalised on an error from Real stopper Keylor Navas.
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. You cannot ruin the dreams of a team.
'' GIANLUIGI BUFFON, on match referee Michael Oliver.
Ronaldo, who has hit 15 goals in this campaign, felt Juve could have no complaints about the spot kick.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane had more sympathy for his former club.
"Buffon didn't deserve this," he said.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN