Interview: Thomas Hitzlsperger – Part One

There was one particular day that would change the way people looked at former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger. The German international came out publicly to announce he is gay, and for the rest of the day, wasn’t looking at comments he was receiving. Obviously, breaking the news was something he felt was right, and wasn’t afraid to admit it to anyone. Announcements like this can be hard to make no matter who you are, but the plaudits Hitzlsperger received were untold, and we are sure they made him feel happy.

It´s a very personal decision and must be thought through carefully. I simply hope that the governing bodies in football will help to fight any form of discrimination
and make life easier for minorities that get targeted. There´s been plenty of it [courage] and the majority was positive. To know that I’ve made a difference in others people’s lives makes me very happy.

However, let’s get back to the football. In his day, the former West Ham man had one of the best left foots you’ve seen. As a footballer of any level, there will always be a certain game, goal etc that you’ll go on to keep remembering and cherish as your favourite. Fortunately for the ex-German international, he can remember a beautiful goal he scored in his favourite game, so comes close to killing two birds with one stone. When asked which his favourite ever game he featured in was, he said:

It´s the final game of the 2006/07 Bundesliga season, in which we beat Energie Cottbus. That day, we won the Bundesliga title and I even scored a cracking goal!

If you want to familiarize yourself with that goal, take a look at the last goal in this brilliant video of the man himself:

When you’re young and your dream is to become a footballer, there is always certain stars you want to play with/against. You want to come up against some of the biggest names in football, so you can say you’ve shared a pitch with the best in the industry. For Hitzlsperger, picking his best team-mates, and opposition, was a no brainer:

There were some outstanding players I played with. Michael Ballack had incredible talent and was probably the best player I played with. Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo were the two best players I played against.

At the same time, there will always be particular managers that you want to thank for your time under them. This might be because they gave you your first real chance in football, or they helped your career progress. Finally, they could have given you both! The former Aston Villa man is very grateful to one boss in particular:

I’m very grateful to Graham Taylor, who brought me into Villa’s first team. It was the beginning of my career and therefore very special. Joachim Loew is an excellent coach from whom I’ve learnt a lot.

Like any football fan, you’ll always have a team you grew up supporting. For many, it’s in your country. For others, it’s a team you enjoy watching and feel you can connect to. For footballers, it’s the same, although they have the added option of supporting a team because they helped them get into professional football etc. For Hitzlsperger, he supported a certain club for that reason:

Bayern Munich. I signed for the Bavarians at the age of 7 and left at 18. I couldn’t have been educated at a better club.

Again, when questioned about the courage it took for Hitzlsperger to announce his coming out, he was happy with the positivity that surrounded his announcement.

There’s been plenty of it and the majority was positive. To know that I’ve made a difference in other people’s lives makes me very happy.

Part two of The Continental Zone’s interview with Thomas will be out later this week. Enjoy!

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