Hitzlsperger comes out.
Former Premier League star Thomas Hitzlsperger has become the most high-profile football to announce he is gay.
“In England, Italy and Germany being a homosexual is no big thing, at least not in the dressing room,” the former Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham midfielder told German paper Die Zeit.
“I have never been ashamed for the fact that I am like I am.”
The 31-year-old, who retired last year, said he wants “take the discussion around professional athletes and homosexuality forward”.
Hitzlsperger, famed for his ferocious left-foot, represented Germany 52 times, played in a World Cup and European Championship and won the Bundesliga with Stuttgart.
Last year, the former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers came out, telling the world about his sexuality in a statement on his website. Last month the British diver Tom Daley also announced that he is gay.