Following in the footsteps of LA Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers, former Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger revealed in an interview with German newspaper Zeit that he is gay, becoming the sport’s highest profile figure to admit his homosexuality publicly. During the interview, Hitzlsperger says that he wants to help gay sportsmen and women.
"In England, Italy and Germany being a homosexual is no big thing, at least not in the locker room. I was never ashamed of being who I am but it was not always easy to sit on a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays. You let them get on with it as long as the jokes are somewhat funny and not too insulting."
Hitzlsperger, whose clubs included Wolfsburg, Aston Villa and Lazio, added that in spite of this, the international soccer community has “simply ignored” homosexual players.
Last February, former Leeds United midfielder Rogers announced his retirement from the game at age 25, while at the same time coming out as gay. He felt he couldn’t be open and continue to play professional soccer. However, barely three months later, Rogers came out of retirement and returned to MLS, where he now plays for the Galaxy.