Thursday, January 09, 2014


Der Hammer: Hitzlsperger, pictured here scoring for West Ham against Burnley in February 2011, was well known for his powerful shot during his playing days

In what has being applauded in England, former Aston Villa star Thomas Hitzlsperger has become the first Barclays Premier League player, past or present, to announce that he is gay.
Hitzlsperger, who also played for West Ham, Everton and Germany, made the revelation on Wednesday, five months after retiring from the game due to persistent injuries.
Hitzlsperger said: ‘I’m coming out about my homosexuality because I want to move the  discussion about homosexuality among professional sportspeople forwards.’ 

Glory days: Hitzlsperger, pictured here in action for Aston Villa in November 2004, also enjoyed spells at West Ham and Everton
The 31-year-old, who made 52 appearances for Germany, said that he only realised he was gay ‘in the past few years’ and, in an interview in the German newspaper Die Zeit, added: ‘I’ve never been ashamed of the way I am.’ 

He said he has only realised ‘in the past few years’ that he would ‘prefer to live together with another man’, saying the issue is otherwise taboo inside the dressing room.

Not alone: Hitzlsperger joins Robbie Rogers and Anton Hysen in the list of openly gay professional footballers
Hitzlsperger, best known for his time at Villa, for whom he made 99 appearances, is the second player who has played in England to come out as gay. Last year former Leeds winger Robbie Rodgers, now at LA Galaxy, also came out.

Leading the way: Former Leeds winger Robbie Rogers is the first openly gay player to ply his trade in Major League Soccer in the USA
Both players left England before making the announcement. Rodgers has insisted that  English football would struggle with an openly gay player and Hitzlsperger does not believe homosexuality is taken seriously enough in the game.

Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski spoke out in support of his former international team-mate on Twitter: ‘Brave and right decision. Respect, Thomas Hitzlsperger. His outing is an important sign in our time.’ 

English-born defender, Anton Hysen,who plays in Sweden and came out as gay in 2011, also praised Hitzlsperger. 

‘Just want to take a moment and say good job Thomas Hitzlsperger!! Very proud of what you’ve done. Extremely good for football,’ he tweeted. 

And he received encouragement from England Prime Minister, David Cameron, who also tweeted his support: ‘As an AVFC fan, I’ve always admired what Thomas Hitzlsperger did on the pitch — but I admire him even more today. A brave and important move.’

Trailblazer: Former England Under-21 international Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer in Britain to come out in 1990, before taking his own life eight years later
It would be recalled that former England Under-21 international, Nigeria-born player Justin Fashanu, who is the brother of former England player and Nigeria Football Association chairman at a time, John Fashanu, was the first professional footballer in Britain to come out in 1990, before taking his own life eight years later 

Source: DailyMail

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