Thomas Hitzlsperger has revealed that he is gay in a magazine interview.
The ex-Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton midfielder, aged 31, has spoken out about his sexuality in an interview with German publication Die Zeit (The Time).
He said it was a “long and difficult process… Only in recent years has it dawned on me that I would prefer to live with another man”.
Hitzlsperger, know as Der Hammer due to his powerful long-range shot, played seven times for the Toffees under David Moyes last season, but hung up his boots in September 2013 due to a knee injury.
That makes him the second footballer to come out shortly after retiring in recent times following a similar decision by former Leeds man Robbie Brady last year.
The former Germany international becomes the first openly homosexual footballer to have played in the Premier League.