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Der Spiegel noted that while German football has many players with immigrant backgrounds – for example, Mesut Özil, who plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid and the German national team, is the son of second-generation Turkish immigrants – there are still officially no gay players in the national team or the Bundesliga.

The allegations made in the interview appear to have wounded not only Germany's football establishment but its Chancellor.

Commentators have pointed out that although the Bundesliga, in light of the anonymous player's revelations, still appears to a bastion of intolerance towards gays, the rest of the country is renowned for its near total acceptance of homosexuality.

"Germany's Foreign Minister [Guido Westerwelle] is gay and so is the Mayor of Berlin, but gay players in the Bundesliga remain firmly in the closet," remarked Der Spiegel magazine.

He said there were several homosexual Bundesliga team members and all of them had been forced to abandon their partners and were concealing their true sexual identity. But you can imagine that months of playing this hiding game is pure poison for a couple," he said. Of course, success playing football was great – but there was a price to pay."The journalist behind the interview, Adrian Bechtold, said it had taken him almost a year to persuade the player to agree to be interviewed.