Thomas Hitzlsperger, who on Wednesday
became the biggest name in soccer to come out gay, says he doesn't
know any gay footballers.
Hitzlsperger, the first German player
to come out, retired from the game four months ago.
He said “the time is right” to
begin speaking about his experiences in professional football as a
Hitzlsperger said he wanted to come out
to help young teens struggling with their sexuality and encourage
other players to come out.
“I think young players these days,
when they're sure about their feelings, they can talk about it. And
hopefully by talking about it, the way I do now, it encourages some
others, because they see they can still be professional football
players, they can play at the highest level and be gay. It's not a
contradiction, as I've proved. Hopefully, it gives some
encouragement to young players.”
But Hitzlsperger said he didn't know
any gay players.
“If you believe me or not, but I
don't know a single gay football player, personally. And, just to
put this right, we didn't get together every morning to talk about
our private lives. We got there to train together, to become better
players, to win as a team and not to talk about our private lives all
the time.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)