12/06/2012 16:05 BST | Updated 12/06/2012 16:14 BST

Euro 2012: Italy Striker Antonio Cassano Makes Homophobic Remark And Hopes 'Poofs' Don't Play In National Team

Antonio Cassano, one of Italy's main strikers at Euro 2012, has been criticised after he made a homophobic remark during an interview on Tuesday.

Cassano was asked about gay footballers and responded: "Poofs in the national team? That's their problem. But I hope not".

The 29-year-old specifically used the term "froci", which is Italian slang and a derogative word which can mean "poof" or "fag".

AC Milan striker Cassano started in the Azzurri's 1-1 draw in their opening Group C game against Spain on Sunday.

Cassano's career is littered with controversy and he is renowned for his short temper. His coach at Roma and former England boss Fabio Capello nicknamed him Cassanata, a term regularly used by Italian journalists as a euphemism for an individual who jeopardises squad harmony.

In November last year, the former Real Madrid forward suffered ischemic-based cerebral damage and underwent minor heart surgery.