Bundesliga - Neuer urges gay footballers to come out
Schalke and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has urged homosexual footballers to stop hiding their sexuality.
The 24-year-old told a German celebrity magazine that coming out would lift a great weight from gay players' shoulders, and that fans would soon accept it.
"Yes, those who are gay should say so. It relieves a burden," said Manuel Neuer in the magazine Bunte.
"And the fans will get over it quickly. What matters is the performance delivered by the player, not his sexual preference."
While homosexuality is a big taboo across the game of football, in Germany the subject is being increasingly acknowledged.
Neuer's comments follow on from those of Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez last November.
"They would play as if they had been liberated," Gomez said at the time. "Being gay should no longer be a taboo topic."
Former second division footballer Marcus Urban is the only German footballer ever to come out, but he only did so in 2007, several years after his retirement.