Australian professional footballer Josh Cavallo announced on Wednesday that he is gay in a video message released by his A-League club Adelaide United.
“I’m a footballer and I’m gay,” Cavallo said in the emotional video titled ‘Josh’s Truth.’ “All I want to do is play football and be treated equally.
“I know there are other players living in silence,” the 21-year-old added. “I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football and deserves the right to be their authentic self.”
His announcement means that Cavallo is the only current openly gay top-flight male footballer.
“Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mold of a professional footballer,” Cavallo wrote. “As a gay footballer, I know there are other players living in silence.
“I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football, and deserves the right to be their authentic self.”
Barcelona star defender Gerard Piqué took to Twitter to offer his support to Cavallo, tweeting: “I want to thank you for this step that you take. The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward.”
Cavallo follows former A-League player Andy Brennan, who in 2019 became the first Australian professional male football player to publicly come out while playing.
In 2014, former Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay the year after he announced his retirement from football.
American international Robbie Rogers announced he was gay when retiring from professional football in February 2013, but subsequently returned to the sport with MLS club LA Galaxy three months later and went on to win the MLS Cup.