Cue: outrageous stereotyping. There is only one thing Italian men love more than fashion, and that’s football.

With that in mind, at last week’s Milan menswear collections, and following their spring/summer 2013 preview, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana hosted a screening of the Euro 2012 quarter-finals. The occasion also saw the launch of Signor Dolce’s first foray into photography: Campioni is a book of black-and-white portraits taken by the designer of young Italian football players, published this month by Rizzoli.

Dolce & Gabbana have long been associated with the beautiful game. They sponsor their home team, AC Milan, and dress players from that club, the Italian national team and, closer to home, Chelsea, for formal occasions. Lionel Messi (aka God) also wears Dolce should the occasion so require.

Whatever, it can’t have been much fun for British fashion editors watching Italy beat England. The Italians there, meanwhile, were just as jubilant as might be expected.

Bitterness aside and back to the volume in question… Dolce says that taking photographs has long been his dream. “With my images I want to pay tribute to the strength and innocence of these players,” he explains.

Taking as naturally to modelling as the proverbial fish to water, here we have a muscle-bound Italian player posing with pride, his body oiled, wearing nothing much more than his boxer shorts – they look like they might have been lovingly pressed by his mother. Another is captured in a singularly attractive pair of silk polka-dotted pyjamas that would quite possibly make even David Beckham blush. The end result is fit, for want of a better word.

Less obviously sexualised are portraits of players in dapper, as always, Dolce & Gabbana tailoring. Antonio Nocerino’s header may have been offside but he’s got a great name that sounds like an ice cream, not to mention a very nice suit.

‘Campioni’ is available at Dolce & Gabbana boutiques from now and from bookstores nationwide in the autumn