Team der ARD
Credit: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Hitzlsperger

Sports official, sports commentator, ex-professional footballer

"Modern football is not a living space for the outdated and people with dusty prejudices."

Who is he? What does he do?

Thomas Hitzlsperger, born on April 5, 1982 in Munich, is now a football official. The highlight of his playing career was winning the German championship with VfB Stuttgart in the 2006/07 Bundesliga season. 

His career took him to Lazio Roma, West Ham United, VfL Wolfsburg and Everton FC. In England, he was nicknamed “The Hammer” due to his powerful long-range shots. 

With the German national team, he finished third at the 2006 World Cup and was runner-up at the 2008 European Championships. He takes a clear stance against racism and discrimination and is an ambassador for diversity for the German Football Association.

What is his experience of a life crisis and how did he overcome it?

A significant challenge in his life was his coming out in 2014 after the end of his active soccer career. This marked a significant turning point in his life, as he had kept his homosexuality hidden until then. 

Thomas apparently realized that he was gay many years before he came out publicly. The wedding to his girlfriend at the time was already planned and was called off the day before the wedding reception.

Since coming out, he has noticed that professional sport has become more open to conversations about sexual diversity and the topic is no longer as taboo as it used to be. He described this event as a change of direction in his life for the better.

What is his inspiration?

Thomas is inspired by the opportunity to use his influence to bring about positive change and promote diversity in soccer. As a DFB Diversity Ambassador, he uses his platform to fight for inclusion and equality and raise awareness of social issues.

Where is his favorite place in the world and why? What does he believe in?

He combines a strong connection to places related to his soccer career with his commitment to social justice and diversity. He believes in the power of sport as a tool for social change and overcoming prejudice.

What was a special moment in his life and what did he experience with his partner?

A special moment in Hitzlsperger’s life was certainly winning the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart in 2007, an achievement that is very close to his heart.

Thomas Hitzlsperger largely keeps his private life out of the public eye. He told “Männer” magazine that he was in a relationship with a man during his time at Everton FC. He described this experience as very beautiful and enriching, as it gave him the opportunity to share his life with someone he loves.