Football’s beautiful response to ‘courageous’ act

Adelaide United footballer Josh Cavallo's courageous announcement yesterday has been met with widespread love and acceptance from the football world.

Top stars including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford, Sam Kerr, Antoine Griezmann and Gerard Pique posted messages of support for the 23-year-old, who yesterday came out.

"I don't have the pleasure to know you personally but I want to thank you for this step that you take," Barcelona skipper Pique wrote.

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"The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward."

Retired legend Gary Lineker said it was "absurd" that coming out was something that was still so rare in the sport, and that the young Australian was a trailblazer.

Cavallo's announcement means he is the first ever openly gay male player in the A-League, and one of only a handful to ever come out while actively playing professional football.

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"Huge respect to Josh for doing this," said Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.

"It's courageous and shares an important message that everyone deserves to be themselves no matter what."

Robin van Persie called Cavallo "an inspiring young man," and Ibrahimovic called him a "champion."

It wasn't just footballers, though. Retired Lakers great Pau Gasol, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and plenty more also sang Cavallo's praises.

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Hundreds if not thousands of football clubs around the A-League, English Premier League and the rest of the world congratulated Cavallo on his bravery as well.

Collin Martin, who plays in the second tier of the US system, is one of the few other openly gay players in the world. He also voiced his support, as did former Hull City youth player turned entrepreneur Thomas Beattie, who came out in a 2020 interview.

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"Football Australia wishes to commend Josh 's bravery to come out as the only openly gay player in the A-League Men competition," Football Australia boss James Johnson said on Wednesday evening.

"His courage to be open with himself and share that part with others is inspiring and will hopefully inspire more footballers to do the same in the future."

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