German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling on an unidentified gay soccer player to reveal his identity.

The professional athlete, who discussed his sexuality in an interview on the condition of anonymity, reportedly plays for Germany's top league, the Bundesliga.

He suggested that fans would reject a gay player, citing the need to “put on an act” to match the expectations of fans. He added that his sexuality was an open secret in the locker room, and that “none of them had a problem” with it.

Merkel gave her opinion on the matter during a news conference on Thursday, The New York Times reported.

“I'm of the opinion that anyone who has the strength and bravery to do it – we in politics have been down this road – should know that he lives in a country where he should not have to be afraid,” Merkel said. “That there is still fear out there, because of the particular context, is something we have to take into account, but we can give a signal: 'You don't need to be afraid.'”