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The former professional football player Thomas Hitzlsperger has released a video explaining his reasons for announcing he is gay.
Asked whether he thinks he could have made the announcement before his retirement, he says he believes young players "can talk about it" and that we will see a current footballer coming out earlier in their careers.
But he admitted he "does not know a single gay footballer personally".
Thomas Hitzlsperger has said he believes his case proves that it is possible to be strong and gay. In an interview on his website he said:
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has tweeted his "huge respect" for Thomas Hitzlsperger, who today became the first openly gay ex-Premier League footballer.
Hitzlsperger acknowledged the message with a retweet.
Gay rights group Stonewall said, "Congratulations to former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger who has revealed that he is gay":
Thomas Hitzlsperger's former club Aston Villa has praised him after the ex-footballer announced he was gay:
Former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger has become the first prominent German footballer to announce he is gay, German publication Zeit Online said.