Radio Sandwell Sport

Former Aston Villa footballer reveals homosexuality

2014-01-08 12:59:29

Thomas Hitzlsperger

Former Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has announced he is gay.

The 31-year-old, who won 52 caps for Germany, made the announcement in newspaper Die Zeit. 

High-profile athletes from other sports have openly discussed their sexuality in recent years, with Olympic diver Tom Daley revealing in December he was in a relationship with a man.

But Hitzlsperger is only the fourth footballer to do so publicly.

    • August 2000: The 18-year-old joins Aston Villa
      from Bayern Munich's youth set-up

 

    • August 2005: After almost 100 appearances for
      Villa, he makes free transfer move to Stuttgart and
      wins Bundesliga in 2006-07 season

 

    • January 2010: Joins Lazio but makes only six
      appearances for the Italian team

 

    • June 2010: Moves to West Ham on a free transfer,
      but plays just 11 times for the club

 

    • August 2011: Signs for Wolfsburg on a free
      transfer following West Ham's relegation from Premier
      League

 

  • October 2012 : Joins Everton on short-term deal,
    making seven appearances for the Toffees

In February 2013, former United States and Leeds United winger Robbie Rogers said he was gay.

Swedish lower league player Anton Hysen, son of former Liverpool player Glenn Hysen, publicly announced his homosexuality in an interview with a Swedish football magazine in 2011.

And in 1990, former England Under-21 international Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer in Britain to reveal he was gay. He took his own life eight years later, aged 37.

Hitzlsperger retired from the sport in September 2013 at the age of 31 after a series of injury problems.

He joined Villa as a teenager in 2000 from Bayern Munich and went on to play for Stuttgart, Lazio, West Ham and Wolfsburg, with a short stint at Everton before the end of his career.

It was during his five-year spell at Aston Villa that the Munich-born midfielder made his name and while at Villa Park he earned the nickname 'Der Hammer' because of his powerful left-foot shot.

Hitzlsperger also enjoyed a successful international career, making his first senior international bow in 2004.

He represented Germany at the 2006 World Cup - though he only played 11 minutes of that competition - and the 2008 European Championships, where he started in the quarter-final, semi-final and final.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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