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Former footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger has said that diver Tom Daley revealing he was in a relationship with a man helped in his own coming out.
"It really helped me to see that other professional sports people were acknowledging their sexuality," he told the Guardian's Raphael Honigstein.
"I read about John Amaechi, Gareth Thomas and Tom Daley. They weren't footballers but the fact that they went public gave me the feeling that I was not alone.
"I began to think that I could help other footballers who might be in the same shoes, so that they could see that here's someone who was even an international.
"I wanted to encourage them, the way that those guys and Robbie Rogers encouraged me."
Gay rights group Stonewall said, "Congratulations to former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger who has revealed that he is gay":
John Amaechi, the first former NBA player to reveal he was gay, has welcomed Thomas Hitzlsperger's announcement by tweeting:
QPR player Joey Barton has tweeted:
Former West Ham, Aston Villa and Germany international midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has announced he is gay. The 31-year-old, who ended his playing career in September due to persistent injuries, told Germany's Die Zeit newspaper that now was "a good time" for him to reveal his true sexuality.