Last February, U.S. soccer star Robbie Rogers came out and revealed that he is gay. It was big news in both the soccer world and the sports world as a whole because, as we're sure you know, there are very few pro athletes or even former pro athletes who have come out and revealed that they are gay. So Rogers made major headlines when he decided to come out. And now, a former soccer star has decided to do the same thing.

Thomas Hitzlsperger—who played for Aston Villa, West Ham, and Everton in the Premier League and represented Germany in international matches and the 2006 World Cup—did an interview with German newspaper Die Ziet recently. And in the interview, he admitted that he is finally comfortable enough to admit that he is gay publicly.

"It's been a long and difficult process," he said of his decision to come out. "Only in the last few years have I realized that I preferred living together with a man. In England, Italy, and Germany, being a homosexual is no big thing, at least not in the dressing room. I was never ashamed of being who I am, but it was not always easy to sit on a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays."

Hitzlsperger also talked at length about soccer's attitude towards gay players.

"Being gay is a topic that is 'ignored' in football and not 'a serious topic in the changing room,'" he said. "Fighting spirit, passion, and winning mentality are intrinsically linked, that doesn't fit the cliché: 'Gays are soft.'"

If you want to read more from Hitzlsperger's interview—and have a German translator at your service—you can check it out over here.

RELATED: Hall of Shame: A Recent History of Homophobia in Sports

[via The Guardian]