Former Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has come out as gay.
Hitzlsperger, who retired due to a knee injury, said in an interview with German magazine Die Ziet that the awareness of being gay was "a long and difficult process" and that "only in recent years has it dawned on me that I would prefer to live with another man”.
The Gay Football Supporters' Network welcomes the news that former Aston Villa and Everton player Thomas Hitzlsperger feels comfortable enough to come out as gay.
GFSN Chair Chris Basiurski says: "We really welcome this news, its shows that we are moving one step closer to creating that atmosphere in football where players at all levels would be able to come out should they want to, safely and free from discrimination. We hope that one day current players would feel able to come out and that eventually a player’s sexual orientation not be a news story, but for now we wish Thomas Hitzlesperger well."