BBC Euros pundit Thomas Hitzlsperger is an LGBTQ+ trailblazer – here’s what you need to know

Thomas Hitzlsperger is commenting at the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship.

Football pundit Thomas Hitzlsperger, who is gay, is working for the BBC at the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship, but who is the man behind the commentating voice?

The 2024 UEFA football tournament has kicked off in Germany, and Hitzlsperger is one of several former players who will be narrating the games.

The 42-year-old German director of football may be commentating on the current football games, but he has his own very unique history on the pitch. Here’s everything you need to know about him.

What is Thomas Hitzlsperger’s sexuality?

In 2013, just a few months after retiring due to a series of injuries, Hitzlsperger came out as gay.

At the time, he was the highest-profile male footballer to ever come out. Hitzlsperger shared that he had only realised he was gay in the previous few years.

In 2007, Hitzlsperger split from his long-term girlfriend a few weeks before they were set to get married.

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Following his coming out as gay, the ex-footballer was celebrated and many former fellow players of the Germany national team voiced their support for his announcement. 

Earlier this year, Thomas Hitzlsperger was added to Aston Villa’s Honorary Anniversary Board ahead of the club’s 150th anniversary season.

The website states: “The 41-year-old came out as gay following his retirement from playing and has been a major advocate for equality ever since.” 

Thomas Hitzlsperger celebrates scoring the equalising goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers at the Boleyn Ground on May 7, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Who has Thomas Hitzlsperger played for?

Hitzlsperger’s career stared off in 1988 as he was signed to the Bayern Munich Junior Team.

The young footballer then arrived in the UK and, after a short trial with Celtic, he joined Aston Villa in 2000.

He was briefly loaned out to Chesterfield during the 2001-2 season.

Then, Hitzlsperger returned to Germany and signed for VfB Stuttgart in 2005. In 2008, he was appointed team captain but the following year he lost the arm band with the change of managers.

Hitzlsperger also played for the Italian side Lazio in 2010 on a six-month contract.

Back in the Premier League, he joined West Ham United and debuted in an FA Cup match in which he scored in the 23rd minute.

Hitzlsperger also had spells at Bundesliga club Wolfsburg in 2011 and Everton in 2012.

While playing for Stuttgart, the team won the Bundesliga, the German football league, in 2007.

He also played for the German national team, selected for the 2006 World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008, earning 52 caps. 

The UEFA European Football Championship runs between 14 June until the final match on 14 July.

The group stage concludes on 26 June, with the knockout stage beginning on 29 June.

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