‘You are helping us move forward’: Barca ace Pique praises Josh Cavallo as Aussie becomes first male pro to ‘come out’ as gay

Adelaide United star Josh Cavallo has received the unanimous backing of several major figures in the football world after the Aussie became the first male professional player in the world to announce that he is gay.

Cavallo, 21, made the announcement early on Wednesday on social media, saying that he was finally "ready to speak about something personal that I'm finally comfortable to talk about in my life".

"I'm a footballer and I'm gay," he said in a video released on social media. "All I want to do is play football and be treated equally."

Despite several female players coming out as homosexual, as well as former Leeds United and LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers, Cavallo's admission makes him the first ever top flight player to have come out as gay and comes after he said he grew tired of "hiding who I am" and "living a double life"

Cavallo opted to make the announcement while still in the prime of his professional career, distinguishing him from the likes of former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger, who publicly revealed his sexuality after his retirement from the game.

"Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed – ashamed I would never be able to do what I love and be gay," Cavallo added in the video.

"Coming out to my loved ones, my peers, friends, team-mates, and coaches has been incredible. The support I have received has been immense.

"I want to show people it is ok to be yourself and play football. If anything, you will earn more respect from people [by coming out].

"I want to show all the other people who are struggling and scared that they do not need to act like something you're not. You were meant to be yourself – not someone else."

Cavallo's decision to speak his truth has been met with unanimous praise from some of the beautiful game's biggest names.

"Hey, Josh Cavallo: I don’t have the pleasure to know you personally but I want to thank you for this step that you take. The world of football is [firmly] behind and you are helping us move forward," wrote Barcelona and Spain star Gerard Pique.

"It’s absurd that coming out is a brave thing to do in football," added former England striker and UK football pundit Gary Lineker.

"It is, though, and I’m full of admiration for Josh for treading a path [that] hopefully many others will follow.

"I’m sure the overwhelming majority of football lovers will support him and erase the fear others may have."

"Huge respect to Josh for doing this," said Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson. "It’s courageous and shares an important message that everyone deserves to be themselves, no matter what."

"In 2021, this shouldn't be news. Thank you for this step forward for the sport. Well said, Josh," said former NBA All-Star Pau Gasol, showing that Cavallo's statement had made waves in sports other than his own.

"What an inspiring young man," noted ex-Manchester United, Arsenal and Netherlands forward Robin Van Persie. "Thank you for your courage – everyone has the right to be themselves. Just stay yourself and enjoy the life you choose to live."

"This must have taken much courage, Josh. You have my full support," said Manchester United and France defender Raphael Varane.

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