BERLIN, Jan. 8 (UPI) --
Former German soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger announced he is gay, becoming the first prominent player from the country to come out.
The 31-year-old athlete told Time magazine coming to terms with his sexuality was "a long and difficult process."
Hitzlsperger retired from playing soccer professionally in September after a debilitating knee injury, TheLocal.de said.
He said he felt it was the right time to come out after his retirement, but said he had "never been ashamed" of his homosexuality.
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