Football: Aussie A-League star Joshua Cavallo becomes world's only openly gay top-flight footballer

Australian Joshua Cavallo has become the world's only openly gay top-flight professional footballer.

The 21-year-old midfielder, who plays for the A-League's Adelaide United, posted on social media, revealing his sexuality in a groundbreaking move for the sport.

"Today, I'm ready to speak about something personal that I'm finally comfortable to talk about in my life," Cavallo tweets. "I am proud to publicly announce that I'm gay.

"It's been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision."

Other footballers have publicly announced themselves as gay, but none while currently playing in their nation's top competition.

Former Newcastle Jets midfielder Andy Brennan came out in 2019, two years after he'd moved on from the A-League.

German international Thomas Hitzlsperger is probably the most high-profile example. In 2014, the former Aston Villa star announced he was gay, seven years after splitting with his wife and one year after his retirement.

"It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world," Cavallo continues. "Hopefully, this will change in the near future."

Cavallo, one of the A-League's Rising Stars last season, wants to create a safe space for other homosexual footballers.

"Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself, because I was ashamed," Cavallo writes.

"Ashamed I would never be able to do what I loved and be gay. Hiding who I truly am, to pursue a dream I always wished for as a kid - to play football and be treated equally never felt like a reality."

Adelaide United coach Carl Veart praises Cavallo's bravery and honesty in speaking out. 

"Josh is a tremendous young man and has shown incredible courage to be one of very few professional sportsmen to be this brave," says Veart. "I'm very proud of him.

"I have nothing but admiration and support for him, as do all the players and coaching staff. I want all my players to feel comfortable and happy being their own person, on and off the park.

"For Josh to be the best he can be and get the most out of his career, he needs the freedom to be himself and I fully support him."