Sparta Prague midfielder and Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto came out as gay, per a video released on his personal social media accounts.
— Jakub Jankto (@jakubjanktojr) February 13, 2023
The Czech midfielder released the video Monday morning to his Instagram and Twitter accounts. In the video, Jankto announced he is gay, saying he no longer wants to live his life “without fears”. He wants to live “in freedom” and no longer wishes to “hide” himself.
“Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses, I have my family, I have my friends,” said Jankto in a longer caption from his Instagram account.
“Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom. Without fears. Without prejudice. Without violence. But with love. I’m gay and I no longer want to hide myself.”
The soccer world has publicly supported Jankto since the announcement.
“Jakub spoke openly about his sexual orientation with the club some time ago,” Sparta Prague said in a statement, “Everything else concerns his personal life. No further comments. No more questions. You have our support. Live your life, Jacob. Nothing else matters,”
“We’re all with you, Jakub. Football is for everyone,” FIFA said via their Twitter account.
Who is Jakub Jankto?
Jankto becomes the sixth man in professional soccer history to come out as gay and the first since Justin Fashanu in 1991 to have played in a top-five European league.
Other soccer stars to come out include Josh Cavallo, who plays for Australian side Adelaide United, and former USMNT midfielder Robbie Rogers, who announced his sexuality upon his retirement in 2013. Although each of these players was accomplished in their own right, Jankto becomes the most prominent male soccer player to publicly announce his sexuality.
Jankto is currently on loan at Sparta Prague from La Liga side Getafe. Prior to his run with the Spanish club, Jankto was a stalwart in Serie A. From 2016-2021 the midfielder made 155 appearances for Italian clubs Udinese and Sampdoria.
Jankto has also become a fixture of the Czech national team, having appeared 45 times since his international debut in 2017. Jankto played in all five matches of the Czech Republic’s quarterfinals march at the 2021 European Championship.