Jan 8 (Reuters) - Former Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has announced in a newspaper interview that he is gay.
"I'm making my homosexuality public because I would like to advance the discussion of homosexuality among professional athletes," he told Die Zeit in an interview to be published on Thursday.
The 31-year-old is the first high-profile German player to publicly reveal that he is homosexual.
He played 52 times for Germany between 2004 and 2010 and spent his club career at Aston Villa, VfB Stuttgart, Lazio, West Ham United, VfL Wolfsburg and Everton.
Hitzlsperger blamed his early retirement on too many injuries and transfers. (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Ken Ferris)