An unnamed lower league player has claimed that there are at least a dozen gay footballers in Serie A but they are terrified to come out.
In an interview on La7 television on Friday night, he claimed that 30 top footballers - including players from Serie A and the national team - have paid him for sex.
"I have about 30 clients who are footballers and I would say that a dozen are Serie A and national team players," the man, who plays football in the Lega Pro, told La7's 'Victory' programme.
The man claimed he is paid 1500 euros for his services, but did not name any of his alleged clients and he didn't want himself to be identified as he wanted to keep his double life as a footballer and gigolo away from his girlfriend.
"They all know I am a footballer as well but they like me because I am discreet," he continued.
"A lot of them are bisexual, they are married or have girlfriends. They have a respectable image but none of them will ever admit to being gay, not for the time being anyway."
"Most of the time we meet in hotels after matches on Sundays, that's when they get their only free time," he said.
"They just want to relax and they don't have any problems kissing me on the mouth. But they are all terrified of being found out."
Last week Franco Grillini, an MP and honorary president of one of Italy's leading gay rights group Arcigay, put the number of closeted players in Serie A to at least 20.
"A lot of these players have girlfriends or wives, but it's all a facade," Grillini said. "They are really scared of coming out because they are terrified what the supporters would say."
Paul Elliott, who played for several British clubs and Pisa in Italy during his 12-year career, told an English FA forum on homophobia he knows of a dozen gay men at the top of the British game.
Elliott, who now works as an adviser to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said gay players do not come out because they fear the reaction of fans.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter commented on the issue earlier this year. "There are gay footballers, but they don't declare it because they think it will not be accepted in these macho organisations," he said.
In April Luciano Moggi, the disgraced former managing director of Juventus, claimed there are no gays in the game.
Speaking on the 'KlausCondicio' programme on Italian television, he claimed: "There are no gays in football.
"I don't know if players are against having them in their team but I definitely am.
"In the teams where I worked there were never any. I never wanted to have a homosexual player and I still wouldn't sign one.
"I'm old school but I know the ambiance of football and a gay wouldn't be able to survive within it.
"A homosexual cannot do the job of a footballer.
"The football world is not designed for them, it's a special atmosphere, one in which you stand naked under the showers."
Moggi is banned from football until 2011 for his role in the referee-influencing Calciopoli scandal but his homophobic comments chime with the reality for openly gay professional players - there are currently none.