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The former Aston Villa and Stuttgart midfielder has opened up about his sexual orientation and called for more sportsmen to do the same

Former Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger has revealed that he is homosexual and urged athletes to be more transparent regarding their sexuality.

The 31-year-old, who recently ended his career after spells with Aston Villa, Stuttgart, Lazio, West Ham United, Wolfsburg and Everton, feels homosexuality remains a taboo in the footballing world.

But following the revelation of former USA international Robbie Rogers, Hitzlesperger has opted to follow suit and says it has taken years to find the courage to come out.

"I am speaking up about my homosexuality because I want to get the discussion about homosexuality among athletes going," Hitzlsperger told Zeit.

"It was a long and difficult process to realise that I am homosexual. Only in the past few years did I reach the conclusion that I prefer living with another man.

"Homosexuality is not a serious issue in England, Germany and Italy, at least not in the dressing room.

"I have never felt ashamed that I am homosexual."

Hitzlsperger follows in the footsteps of USA international Robbie Rogers, who came out as homosexual in 2013.

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