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Jakub Jankto receives incredible standing ovation from Sparta Prague fans after coming on as substitute

Jakub Jankto receives incredible standing ovation from Sparta Prague fans after coming on as substitute

The 27-year-old Czech Republic international came out as gay earlier this month.

Czech Republic midfielder Jakub Jankto received loud cheers from Sparta Prague supporters when he came on as a substitute in their 3-0 win over Jablonec.

Earlier this month, the 27-year-old became the first current international in men's football to publicly come out as gay.

In a video posted to his Twitter page, Jankto said he "no longer wants to hide" his sexuality. “Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses; I have a family, I have my friends," he said.

“I have a job, which I have been doing it as best as I can, for years, with seriousness, professionalism and passion. Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love."

Days after announcing the news and Jankto played his first official match after coming out as gay – a Czech First League clash against Jablonec – on Sunday afternoon.

He replaced Jan Kuchta in the 69th minute and as he made his way onto the Letna Stadium pitch, the former Sampdoria midfielder was greeted with a thunderous round of applause.

Speaking to Le Lene after the full-time whistle, Jankto said: "People applauded me in the first game after coming out. I'm very happy. After a long time, I played with a smile. You can win, score a hat-trick, you can score goals, but with a smile."

He added: "The world of football is homophobic. If I'm the first active footballer to admit it, that's it. I hope this helps even those who continue to hide. I put my face into it and I will continue to do so."

Jankto is the highest-profile player in men's football to publicly come out as gay after Adelaide United full-back Josh Cavallo and Blackpool forward Jake Daniels opened up about their sexuality in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

In an interview with Czech radio station Radiožurnál opened up on the reaction to his coming out video.

“I expected it to be big, but I didn’t expect the biggest teams in the world, the biggest organisations to stand behind me," he said.

“That made it easier for me afterwards. I hope that these are not just words, but that it is the kind of support that others with a different orientation will be able to rely on.”

The 27-year-old added: "The most important thing for me is that now I can finally live the way I want. So I was relieved.”

Featured Image Credit: O2 TV Sport/Twitter

Topics: Czech Republic, Football