GERMAN FOOTBALL THOMAS Hitzlsperger is the latest former professional athlete to come out as gay.
The 31-year-old, who retired from the game last September, made the announcement in German newspaper Di Zeit this morning and admitted it had been “a long and difficult process”.
“I am declaring my homosexuality because I want the question of homosexuality in the world of professional sport to be out in the open,” he said.
Having joined Aston Villa from Bayern Munich as a youngster, he spent five years at the Midlands club before returning to his homeland with Stuttgart.
A short spell in Italy was followed by a season at West Ham and Hitzlsperger was last on the books with Everton before calling time on his career.
He also scored six goals in 52 appearances for Germany and played at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.
In coming out, he has become the the highest profile footballer to do so and also the first former Premier League player.
- Additional reporting from - © AFP, 2014