Josh Cavallo: Footballer comes out as world's only openly gay player in top-flight of game

Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo has received messages of support from across the football world since his announcement Credit: Josh Cavallo

A footballer from Australia has come out as gay, making him the world's only openly gay male player in the top-flight of the game.

Josh Cavallo made the announcement in a series of posts on Twitter earlier on Wednesday.

In a video, the Adelaide United player said: "I'm a footballer, and I'm gay.

"Growing up I always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed. Ashamed I'd never be able to do what I love and be gay", he said.

The 21-year-old, from Melbourne added: "All I want to do is play football, and be treated equally."

The footballer, who plays as both a left back and central midfielder, said it had been a struggle to get to this point, and that he had been battling his sexuality but was "proud" to make the announcement.

He said he hopes it will encourage more gay footballers to come out and create a culture change in the sport.

"I know there are other players living in silence," Cavallo wrote.

"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."

Messages of support have poured in from across the footballing world since Cavallo's announcement.

Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué, who used to play for Manchester United, replied to Cavallo's tweet saying he had taken a positive step for the world of football.

Several football clubs have responded with support to Cavallo's announcement, including Arsenal, Barcelona and Valencia, who sent messages on Twitter.

He also received support outside of football. South Australia Senator Penny Wong thanked Cavallo for his courage.

It is still uncommon for male footballers to come out as gay while they are still playing.

Thomas Hitzlsperger, who played for Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton, waited until he retired before coming out in 2013.

Collin Martin, an openly gay male professional footballer who plays in the US's equivalent of the second division, congratulated Josh Cavallo on social media. Martin, who plays for San Diego Loyal said: "You definitely will have made it easier for young players looking up to you."