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'You are a champion': Football legends deliver powerful tributes as world unites behind Josh Cavallo

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28th October, 2021
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A who’s who of football legends have expressed their praise and admiration for Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, after he courageously came out on Wednesday.

The 21-year old became the first A-League player, and one of just a handful around the world, to be openly gay, after posting a lengthy statement and video to his Twitter account.

Past and current champions – and some of the world’s biggest clubs – have since expressed their support en masse across various social media forums, as the football world unites behind Cavallo.

England and Aston Villa star Tyrone Mings led the charge among the current crop, describing Cavallo as ‘absolutely brilliant’; while football icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic wrote: “You are a champion. Football is for everybody. Big respect.” Their show of support were two among hundreds, as everyone from Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea to reigning World Cup winner with France, Antoine Griezmann, sending Cavallo messages of support.

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Barcelona veteran Gerard Pique hoped the Australian will bring about changes in attitudes towards LGBTIQ people in the sport, Tweeting: “The world of football is far behind and you are helping to move us forward.”

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Former greats of the game were also quick to praise Cavallo, with England legend Gary Lineker saying he is ‘full of praise’ for the Aussie. “I’m sure the overwhelming majority of football lovers will support him and erase the fear others may have,” the 1990 FIFA Fair Play Award recipient wrote.

He wasn’t alone, with other retired champions from Rio Ferdinand to Robin van Persie joining the chorus of acclaim.

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Support for Cavallo wasn’t just restricted to players; a host of the biggest clubs in world sport have united behind the 21-year old, from Premier League behemoths and the League itself:

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… to giants from across Europe…

… and even made it all the way to the Americas.

Even FIFA’s own Twitter account was part of the show of support.

The support even extended beyond the world of sport, with US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, a noted LGBTIQ activist whose own coming out in 1997 sparked far less universal support, ‘sending… a whole lot of love’ to Cavallo.

Even perpetually controversial English presenter Piers Morgan could only find good things to say about Cavallo, saying bluntly: “Anyone who has a problem with it or wants to taunt you about your sexuality is not a real football fan.. or anyone worth bothering about.”

Closer to home, Cavallo’s coming out has been met with Australia-wide support, from his Adelaide United brethren…

… to A-League rivals…

… and even to the AFL, the A-League’s long-time rival putting aside any enmities to stand with Cavallo.

Matildas star Sam Kerr and Australian football icon Craig Foster offered their own touching messages, as did the Socceroos’ social media account.

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Last but not least, Football Australia issued a statement on their Twitter account, praising both Cavallo and former A-League player Andy Brennan, who became the first openly gay Australian footballer in 2019 while playing for Hume City in the National Premier Leagues Victoria.

“His [Cavallo’s] courage to be open with himself and share that part with others is inspiring and will hopefully inspire more footballers to do the same in the future,” it reads.

The biggest and most popular sport on the planet, all united behind Josh Cavallo. It might be Australian football’s most powerful moment ever.

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