Spanish footballer Alberto Lejárraga comes out as gay: ‘It’s our turn to live it up’

A Spanish footballer has come out as gay while celebrating his team’s promotion to the country’s fourth-tier league.

Marbella won promotion on Sunday by beating Real Jaen 1-0 and in a tweet celebrating the success, goalkeeper Alberto Lejárraga posted a collage of photos showing himself with family and friends, including one image where he kisses – and another where he hugs – his boyfriend.

Lejárraga, 28, wrote: “Thank you so much for always being by my side, during the good and the bad. Now it’s our turn to live it up.”

In the photos, Alberto Lejárraga’s boyfriend is seen wearing a Marbella shirt bearing Lejárraga‘s name.

Many people responded to the tweet with positive words about both the promotion and the shot-stopper being open about his sexuality.

One user thanked him “for being brave and not hiding and being free”. Another simply said: “Thanks for your visibility.”

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‘Visibility and representation save lives’

Slowly, the number of openly gay male footballers is increasing around the world, with Alberto Lejárraga now among their number.

Czech Republic midfielder Jakub Jankto, who came out publically in February, is the only player active at international level, but Josh Cavallo, 23, who plays in Australia’s A-League, came out in October 2021.

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Meanwhile, in the UK, Blackpool’s 18-year-old star, Jake Daniels, came out last year, becoming the first active professional footballer to do so in the country since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

When 27-year-old Jankto revealed his sexuality, Thomas Beattie, an English player who spent most of his career with teams in Canada and Singapore, and came out after retirement in 2020, told PinkNews it was clear that attitudes were changing in the sport.

He said there was still work to be done but “there is momentum, which shows [footballers] there is an outcry of support and love when coming out”.

“Visibility and representation save lives,” Beattie added. “When people can see an example of someone they resonate with, it offers them confidence to know they too can live as their authentic self.” 

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