Pictures: Wiki and Pixabay
Sadly, the football world can still seem a very intimidating place to be a member of the LGBTQ community. However, things are slowly changing, and it is important to celebrate some of the high-profile athletes who have come out of the closet, so we can move towards a more inclusive game for everyone.
The most high-profile male footballer to come out, Thomas Hitzlsperger played as a midfielder prior to his retirement. During his career, he played for several high-profile European teams, including Aston Villa, Stuttgart, and Wolfsburg. He also earned 52 caps for the German national team playing in the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 Euros.
He came out following his retirement in 2013 and received positive reactions from fellow players, and from various other important figures in the German football scene. He’s now the head of sport for Bundesliga team VfB Stuttgart.
Thomas Hitzlsperger (Photo: Wiki)
A defender for Chelsea Women, Magdalena Eriksson previously played for Hammarby IF, Djurgårdens IF, and Linköpings FC in her native Sweden. She currently captains the Chelsea Women’s team and has helped them win numerous titles such as champions of the English Women’s Super League in the 2020-21 season. Anyone who wants to see how this team manages to pull together and compete needs only look as far as football betting odds; up-to-date odds will reflect how well they manage to play together.
She’s also currently the captain of the Swedish national team and is in a relationship with her Chelsea teammate and Danish international player Pernille Harder.
Magdalena Eriksson (Photo: Wiki)
Pernille Harder has won the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award twice, in 2018 and 2020. She is also the most expensive female footballer in the world following her transfer from Wolfsburg to Chelsea for a price of over £250,000.
She is one of the top scorers in the Danish team, and there is no doubting her skills on the pitch. However, she is also known for her advocacy and activism for the LGBTQ community. Earlier this year she and Eriksson opened their DMs to fans to helps those struggling to come out.
Pernille Harder (Photo: Wiki)
With greater LGBTQ representation in women’s football, seeing relationships like Eriksson and Harder’s could help normalise them and work wonders for achieving equality for all in the game.
These are just three footballers who have chosen to be open about their sexuality. It’s fantastic to see! While Hitzlsperger is still very much an anomaly in the men’s game, we hope others feel confident to come out in the future.