Claudio Marchisio, a midfielder on Italy’s national squad has spoken out in favour of equal marriage rights for gay couples, a week after a team-mate said he hoped there were no gays on their team.

Antonio Cassano, Marchisio’s team-mate on the squad, which is due to meet Ireland at the Euro 2012 championship this evening, had said last week he hoped there were no “queers” on the team.

But 26-year-old Juventas mid-fielder Marchisio told Italian Vogue that Cassano is a “good person”, and said he is himself in favour of equal marriage rights for gay couples.

He told the magazine: “Personally, I agree with marriage between persons of the same sex.

“But in our particular environment, in fact, the topic is a bit rigid. If someone comes out at their workplace, fortunately it is no longer a sensation.

“Doing so at a football training camp, however, one cannot imagine the same scene. It is not fair.

“In terms of adopting children, I find that instinctively the more traditional figures are those of a man and woman. I tend to think that children need balance, but it’s a complicated issue.

“It cannot be argued that a heterosexual couple can necessarily be able to provide more love to a child.”

Of his teammate he said: “Sometimes he does naive things. And one almost has the impression that he does not really want to become an adult.

“But no one ever writes that, above all else, he is truly a good person. But we know it.”