As expected, Antonio Cassano’s homophobic statements in a Press conference today brought a wave of condemnation from the Italian media.
“It’s their problem. If they are gay (though he used a far more offensive Italian term, ndr), then that’s their problem.
“If I say what I really think, then there’s going to be chaos. Are there any gays in the locker room? I hope not. In any case, it’s their problem and nothing to do with me.”
The man who had to translate the interview for UEFA admitted to Sky Sport Italia it was “the toughest job of my life. I tried to smooth over some of it and use less vulgar terms.”
Even the journalist who helped write Cassano’s autobiography was shocked.
“I know Cassano is not homophobic,” wrote Pierluigi Pardo on Twitter.
“However, that doesn’t take away from the fact he made a huge mistake in saying those things and above all using that word.”
When video of the Press conference is played on Italian television, they tend to bleep out the offensive phrase.
The question was asked because journalist Alessandro Cecchi Paone – who wrote a book on gay figures in sport with a foreword by Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli – said this week there were two gay players in the current Azzurri side and one bisexual.
“Once the Euros are over, I invite Cassano to dinner so I can explain to him how wrong he is on this, because I think his ideas are a little confused,” said Cecchi Paone.
“I want to help him understand that he was very rude to his teammates who are forced to hide themselves. By being forced to hide, they cannot play their best football.”
Cecchi Paone then dropped another bombshell on with regards to his statement.
“I had a relationship with one of the players in this team and he told me who the other gay player was, which is why I know there are two,” he told Radio 24.
“Prandelli knows who the homosexuals are. As for when I said there are three metrosexuals, it was a compliment aimed at Sebastian Giovinco, Riccardo Montolivo and Ignazio Abate.”
Metrosexual is a phrase used to describe a modern man in an urban setting who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance.