Thomas Hitzlsperger: 'Being openly gay footballer would be almost impossible'

Retired footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger says that it would be "almost impossible" for him to return to the game as an openly gay professional.

Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has admitted that it would have been "almost impossible" to have been openly gay and still playing the game.

The 32-year-old revealed that he is gay back in January, four months after retiring.

While Hitzlsperger has no concerns that fans or his fellow professionals would cause a problem, the German believes that the media would make it tough for him to return to the game.

"I did so many interviews and it took up all of my time so it would have been difficult to go back into training as if nothing had happened," Hitzlsperger told The Metro.

"For me it would have been almost impossible had I still been playing – not because of the fans or the other players, but because of the media."

This weekend, Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign will hope to tackle homophobia within the game by encouraging players to wear multi-coloured laces on their boots.

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Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger gestures during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 15, 2014
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