In a world that registers constant advances in the field of rights for the LGBTIQ + community, men's football continues to be a space of resistance. Today there are no cases of openly gay professional players (different is the case of the female branch) and this is due to multiple prejudices and stigmas that are strongly held in an environment that preserves macho and homophobic roots.
Louis Van Gaal He is a former coach with a long career in different European teams (Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, among others). However, in his long career, never ran into a footballer in which a player made public being gay. In an extensive interview with the Dutch portal Gaykrant, specialized in news from the LGBTIQ + community, the DT gave his vision of this topic that many still do not dare to talk about.
“In general, this is not discussed in the world of soccer. The world of football has an old-fashioned reality and is very conservative in terms of thinking and doing. And so are gay people, because they fear the consequences. Why wouldn't a player want to stand out for that? Why is it not accepted? I think it would be accepted in the locker room, but no active player has come out of the closet. Therefore, it does not seem strange to me that it is not discussed ”, reflected Van Gaal.
In that sense, he added: "No player in my career has said, 'I'm gay.' Not one. That says enough. I have often thought and suspected this among players. But if they don't think to say it, I don't want to burden them with that. I'm not going to say which club he was in because I want to protect those footballers. Most are married to a woman and have children. I really can't do that to them. "
Asked what he would advise a footballer who wanted to speak publicly about his homosexuality, the former Barcelona coach said: "I would warn you that you have to have a lot of courage and strength to do it, because in the world of soccer and in the outside world it can be difficult. But also I think it is always much better to come out of the closet, because the best thing is to be yourself and not blindly accept what is said. "
"Homosexuality is still viewed by many as deviant behavior. Even in the name of God it still looks that way. And so you will be under pressure as a footballer. It will bring a lot and you have to overcome a lot of resistance. You have to think if you want that and if it is the right thing for you. " added.
Van Gaal considered that an openly gay soccer player will finally be valued for his performance on the field and, on those suspicions he had in some schools for what happened, he commented: "I've always noticed – and that may sound crazy – that usually the most creative players are gay. And those types of players are very valuable in soccer. In other words, they are valued for their footballing qualities. ”
The former coach said that he has always sought to meet his players in more personal aspects and that One of the questions I used to ask them was if they had a girlfriend. Over time, it modified its language to make it more inclusive and began to consult for their "partners". "I adapted this to relate through advanced vision because I realized it was the wrong question," he revealed.
Finally, he opined that, Although there are gay professional soccer players, "there are not many" because "the world of soccer is not a reflection of society". In this sense, he regretted that it is an issue that is difficult to speak openly and opted for a change. "But I'm afraid it will take even longer than everyone thinks," he warned.
Finally, the 68-year-old former Dutch coach gave guidelines for the world of football to transform into a more inclusive space: “It all starts with homeschooling, but also at school. This also includes sex education. Learning as a youngster could have an impact on football. ”
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