Czech Republic footballer Jakub Jankto comes out as gay

Jakub Jankto of the Czech Republic says he “no longer wants to hide” as he comes out as gay in public, becoming the first active international player in men’s football.

The 27-year-old midfielder, on loan from Getafe of Spain, announced it on Twitter on Monday.

In 45 appearances since making his senior debut for the Czech Republic in 2017, Jankto has four goals to his credit.

I have a family, I have friends, and I have my shortcomings, just like everyone else,” he remarked.

I have a job that I have been seriously, professionally, and passionately doing as best as I can for years.”

“Like everyone else, I also want to live my life in freedom without worries, prejudice, or violence, but rather with love,” he continued.

“I no longer want to disguise the fact that I am gay.”

In the men’s game in the UK last year, Jake Daniels of Blackpool made history by becoming the first professional athlete to come out while still competing in more than 30 years.

Justin Fashanu, who played for clubs in England and Scotland after coming out as gay in October 1990, was the last active men’s professional football player in the UK to do so before Daniels.

Josh Cavallo, an Adelaide United player who came out in October, was the only act-out homosexual top-flight male professional footballer in the world prior to Jankto’s public coming out.

Sparta Prague announced in a statement that Jankto had “some time ago” spoken openly about his sexual orientation with the club’s management, coach, and teammates.

The club continued, “Everything else involves his personal life. No more to say. There are no more queries. We are behind you. Jakub, live your life.”

Thomas Hitzlsperger, a 40-year-old former midfielder for Germany and Aston Villa who retired due to injury issues in December 2013, tweeted: “What a jerk! What a character! Jakub deserves praise for standing up and setting an example for others.”

Jankto has played in 10 league games for Sparta Prague since coming on loan in August, recording one goal and one assist.

Before agreeing to a contract with Spanish club Getafe in 2021, he played the majority of his club football in Italy with Udinese, Ascoli, and Sampdoria.

In 45 appearances since making his senior debut for the Czech Republic in 2017, Jankto has four goals to his credit.

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