Gay Australian footballer Cavallo pops question to partner on pitch

By AFP   March 15, 2024 | 09:22 pm PT
Gay Australian footballer Cavallo pops question to partner on pitch
Australian footballer Josh Cavallo proposes to his partner on the pitch on March 13, 2024. Photo by Instagram/@joshua.cavallo
Trailblazing Australian gay football player Josh Cavallo has proposed to his partner on the pitch at his club Adelaide United, thanking the team for providing "a safe space in football."

The 24-year-old became the world's only top-flight openly gay men's player in 2021, winning plaudits throughout the sporting world and beyond for his decision to come out.

Cavallo popped the question to Leighton Morrell on one knee at an empty Hindmarsh Stadium and posted the images on social media late Wednesday.

"Thank you Adelaide United for helping set up this surprise," said Cavallo, who has since become a vocal advocate for gay rights.

"Your endless support has meant so much to me. You have provided a safe space in football, one that I never in my dreams thought could ever be possible, and encouraged me to live every day of my life authentically.

"It felt right to share this special moment on the pitch, where it all started," he added.

Despite football's immense popularity worldwide, only a few footballers have ever come out, mostly after they retired to avoid the prospect of taunts from the terraces.

Just a handful of top players have revealed they are gay while still playing, including Jake Daniels at English side Blackpool, some seven months after Cavallo.

Czech international Jakub Jankto - who plays for Serie A side Cagliari – is the highest-profile current male gay footballer, making the announcement last year.

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