A PREMIER League footballer has been having a secret gay relationship for four years — but won’t come out because he fears the backlash from fans could wreck his career.
The international ace, who has told close pals in the game he is bisexual, has a child with his female partner. But he has also been having an affair with an openly gay fashion worker.
The player’s 21-year-old lover told last night of the star’s emotional torment. He said: “The Premier League’s a very weird environment for a gay or bi man.
“It’s a modern institution nothing like the rest of society. If two men want a consensual sexual relationship in this country, in most cases, no one would blink an eye.
“But for us, if anyone found out, it could ruin his career. He feels like he’d face constant abuse and bullying from the terraces.”
The Sun knows the identity of the footballer but has chosen not to reveal his name.
Talking about their relationship in a bid to widen the discussion on homophobia in football, the lover said: “A lot of his friends in Premier League teams know my man is bisexual.
“They’ve no problem with it, they are actually extremely supportive.
“It isn’t the players that are the problem — although he is guarded with who knows. It is because of the backlash from the fans that he is terrified of it coming out.
“He’s scared about chants and torment from the stands. His relationship with me is strictly secret.”
The men met four years ago in a nightclub. They had mutual friends and began chatting before exchanging numbers at the end of the night to plan more trips out.
But the lover said he picked up on sexual chemistry between them.
PFA SHOULD ACT
THE fear of coming out is worse than the likely consequences.
Surveys show that three quarters of football supporters say they’d have no problem with a gay or bisexual player.
All they care about is whether or not he scores goals for their team.
Footballers should be judged by their performance on the pitch, not in the bedroom.
To allay the anxieties of individual players, the Professional Footballers Association should organise a simultaneous coming out by several stars.
That way, no single player would have to deal with the media and public reaction. There would be safety in numbers.
Peter Tatchell, gay rights campaigner
He said: “I could tell from the start that he might be attracted to me. You can tell when a guy who acts straight might be gay.
“He’s very manly and very much ‘one of the lads’. But he is bisexual and struggles with that. It’s like it’s something deeply shameful he has to carry around with him. That shouldn’t be the case in 2018.”
After meeting regularly at exclusive clubs, the ace began offering his pal lifts home in his sports car.
About a month later they shared a kiss. The stylish socialite added: “We flirted heavily in the car. He’d rest his hand on my leg and stuff.
“I can’t say it was a shock. I wasn’t really star-struck because I don’t know much about football.
“I liked him as a person and was attracted to him as he was fit and always looked well turned-out.
“After the kiss he didn’t tell me not to tell anyone — I think he knew I wouldn’t do that anyway.”
In April that year the player booked a Premier Inn room and the pair had sex for the first time.
It began a regular arrangement where they would meet fortnightly between the ace’s busy training schedule and his lover’s studies.
The lover said: “We didn’t always just meet to have sex. Sometimes we’d drive around in his car.
“We still went out to clubs with our mates and sometimes he’d give me a lift and stuff would happen, but mostly we met alone.
“People presume we’re just mates — and we are. But he also has to carry this huge secret around. He has the emotional torment of having to pretend and lie to people about who he really is.
“We spent a lot of time in hotels when we first met. We’d order pizza and listen to music. He has awful taste in music — he likes grime and rap. I hate that stuff. It was a really casual thing. We weren’t in love, it wasn’t intense.
“We had a good time together and he trusted me, that was it.
“On my birthday he booked the hotel for two nights and we stayed in together. He’d pay for my train ticket as I’d just finished my studies and didn’t have much money.”
In 2015 the star, who has a reputation as a ladies’ man, began a serious relationship with a woman.
The gay lovers stopped meeting. But a year later, the player got in touch and offered to pick up the socialite from a friend’s home.
The lover said: “That was the first time I’d been to his house. We saw each other more around then.”
But the lover added: “Things have died down between us. I last slept with him in November.
“He tried to call me nine times one night last month and I guess it was for sex, but I was asleep.”
Asked if he thinks the player will ever come out as bisexual, the lover said: “I seriously doubt it.
“The fact there is no openly gay Premier League player shows how far they are from that point. It’s a shame that gay and bi men are persecuted so much in football.”