Fabio Capello used an allegedly homophobic term during a radio interview in which he also defended Arrigo Sacchi against accusations of racism.
While speaking to Onda Cero, the Russia was asked about claims that Atletico Madrid's intensive, high-pressure brand of football is overly aggressive and that Diego Simeone's players are prone to ill-discipline.
The Italian coach replied: "I don't agree that they are violent. Football is not for mariquitas."
The Spanish word 'mariquitas' is the diminutive of 'marica', a homophobic slur which could be translated into English as 'fairies'.
During the interview, Capello also sought to explain the context behind Sacchi's controversial claim that there are "too many black players" in Italy's under-age teams.
"What he said is not racism," the former England boss stated. "We just need to have more Italian players in our youth academies, [players] with an Italian identity.
"We also have black players who are Italian but he was referring to the youth teams that have eight or nine foreign players in them."