German footballer Manuel Neuer encourages gay players to be open

German football Manuel Neuer says that gay players should come out and not fear the reaction of fans.

The Schalke goalkeeper, talking to Bunte magazine, said fans would care more about the player’s performance.

When asked what gay footballers should do, he said: “Yes, those who are gay should say so. It relieves a burden.

“And the fans will get over it quickly. What matters is the performance delivered by the player, not his sexual preference.”

In November, Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez made similar comments.

Also speaking to Bunte, he said: “They would play as if they had been liberated. Being gay should no longer be a taboo topic.”

Gomez added: “We’ve got a gay vice-chancellor [Guido Westerwelle]; the Berlin mayor [Klaus Wowereit] is gay. So professional footballers should own up to their preference.”

Currently, there are no out gay players in the German Bundesliga.

Marcus Urban, who played for the national youth teams in the 1990s before settling at second division club Rot-Weiss Erfurt did come out but quit the game immediately afterwards.