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Czech footballer Jakub Jankto becomes first active international men’s player to announce he is gay

<i>James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images</i><br/>Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto has announced he is gay.
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James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images
Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto has announced he is gay.

By Matt Foster, CNN

Czech football star Jakub Jankto has become the first active international men’s player to announce he is gay.

“Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses; I have a family, I have my friends,” Jankto said in a video released on social media Monday.

“I have a job, which I have been doing it as best as I can, for years, with seriousness, professionalism and passion. Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love.

“I am homosexual, and I no longer want to hide myself.”

The 27-year-old midfielder is currently on loan at Sparta Prague from Spanish club Getafe.

The Czechia-based team posted a statement in support of the player, writing: “Jakub Jankto spoke openly about his sexual orientation with the club’s management, coach and teammates some time ago.

“No further comments. No more questions. You have our support. Live your life, Jakub. Nothing else matters.”

In a show of support, Getafe wrote: “Our maximum respect and unconditional support for our footballer, Jakub Jankto.”

Jankto has played 45 times for his country since making his debut in 2017, scoring four goals.

Footballing organizations also expressed their support for Jankto. UEFA, European football’s governing body, wrote: “Well done, Jakub. You’re a true inspiration, and European football is with you!”

Fifpro, the global union for players, tweeted: “Live your life, Jakub. Proud.”

Jankto joins Australian player Josh Cavallo as the only openly gay top-flight male footballers in the world. Jake Daniels, an 18-year-old striker for Blackpool in England’s second tier, came out in May 2022.

Thomas Hitzlsperger, a midfielder who played for Germany 52 times, came out after retiring.

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