“I am homosexual and I do not want to continue hiding myself”. are the words of the czech Jakub Janktothe first international male footballer to come out as gay.
The 27-year-old midfielder, who plays for Sparta Prague on loan from Getafe in the Spanish league, announced this Monday in a video widely disseminated on Twitter.
Other soccer players had come out before, but he is the first in the world to do so as an active part of his country’s senior team.
Jankto has scored four goals in 45 appearances for the Czech Republic national team since his debut in 2017.
“I want to live without fear or prejudice”
“Like all people I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses, I have a family, I have my friends,” he said.
— Jakub Jankto (@jakubjanktojr) February 13, 2023
And he continued: “I have a job that for years I have been doing the best I can with seriousness, professionalism and passion.”
“Also I want to live my life in freedom without fear, without prejudice, without violence and with love”, he concluded.
Jake Daniels of English club Blackpool last year became the first active male professional player to come out in more than 30 years in the UK.
The previous one had been Justin Fashanu who, after his public confession in 1990, continued to play for clubs in England and Scotland, but ended up committing suicide.
Before Jankto came out, Australia’s Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo was the world’s only openly gay top-flight professional footballer since he came out last October.
Sparta Prague announced that Jankto had openly discussed the issue “some time ago” with the club’s management, coach and teammates.
The club pointed out that “everything else concerns his personal life.”
“No further comments. No more questions. You have our support. Live your life Jakub“.
Former Aston Villa and Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, 40, who came out in January 2014 months after retiring with injury issues, tweeted:
“What a player! What a personality! Well done Jakub for speaking up and leading the way for others.”
Since joining on loan in August, Jankto has made 10 league appearances for Sparta Prague, scoring one goal and one assist.
Before joining Getafe in 2021, the Czech spent most of his career in the Italian league with Udinese, Ascoli and Sampdoria.
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