ONE of the oddities of our hyper-progressive era is that, despite embracing a climate of inclusivity and diversity, it is still taboo to be a gay professional footballer.
But one more brick in that wall was chipped away after Marbella CF’s starting goalkeeper, Alberto Lejarraga, came out on Twitter.
The shotstopper posted a picture of himself kissing his boyfriend alongside a montage of happy moments and hugs with both his partner and his family.
The photo celebrated Marbella’s recent promotion to the 2ª REF league.
“Thank you very much for always being by my side, through thick and thin! This time we had to live the beauty of this!” he wrote.
The Madrid native joins Getafe’s Jakub Jankto as the second current La Liga player in Spain to say publicly that he’s gay.
The 27-year-old Czech international winger is back in his native country playing on loan this season for Sparta Prague.
Referee Jesus Tomillero from La Línea de la Concepción has also come out as gay.
However, Tomillero faced a severe backlash and abuse for his bravery, including death threats on social media.
Despite this, Lejarraga has received an outpouring of support and applause for his decision to come out on Twitter.
It is the first time the 28-year-old goalkeeper has publicly shared a photo revealing his sexual orientation.
He won the Golden Gloves as the goalkeeper who conceded the fewest goals in the IX Group this year.
As well as being a successful professional footballer Lejarraga holds a degree in computer engineering.
The taboo against gay footballer players also extends to England, where the issue has long been shrouded in secrecy.
As of 2022, there is only one openly gay male footballer in England’s top four men’s divisions. His name is Jake Daniels, and he is a forward for Blackpool F.C.
Peter Clayton, who chairs the FA’s ‘Homophobia in Football’ working group, has argued that there are barriers preventing male players from coming out, as they are considered commercial assets that may be damaged.
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