Czech Republic midfielder Jakub Jankto becomes first current international player in men's football to come out as gay
The 27-year-old Sparta Prague player said "I no longer want to hide myself" during an announcement video
Czech Republic midfielder Jakub Jankto has come out as gay, becoming the first current international player in men's football to publicly to do so.
Jankto, who is currently on loan at Sparta Prague from La Liga side Getafe, made the announcement on Twitter.
“Hi, I’m Jakub Jankto,” he said. “Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses; I have a family, I have my friends.
“I have a job, which I have been doing it as best as I can, for years, with seriousness, professionalism and passion. Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love.
“I am homosexual, and I no longer want to hide myself.”
pic.twitter.com/PZNSAteOchFebruary 13, 2023
Jankto made his debut for the Czech Republic in 2017, and has since played 45 times for his country, scoring four goals. He also played in Nations League games last summer against Spain and Switzerland, assisting against the latter in a 2-1 win.
Sparta Prague subsequently released a statement in support of Jankto’s decision to come out, revealing the 27-year-old has already been open about his sexuality with his teammates and coaches at Sparta Prague.
“Jakub spoke openly about his sexual orientation with the club some time ago," Sparta's statement read.
"Everything else concerns his personal life. No further comments. No more questions. You have our support. Live your life, Jakub. Nothing else matters.”
This season, Jankto has only managed 10 appearances for Sparta Prague in the Fortuna Liga, and hasn't played since October due to injury.
In October 2021, Adelaide United's Josh Cavallo became the first openly gay top-flight male professional footballer.
At the time, the Australian said he hoped others would feel accepted in professional football and be comfortable being themselves.
"I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community," Cavallo stated.
In May 2022, Blackpool's Jake Daniels became the first male professional footballer in the UK to come out while still playing since Justin Fashanu, over 30 years ago.
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.