Former Stoke and West Brom defender Carl Hoefkens has revealed that he played alongside two players in England, who were openly gay.
There continue to be issues surrounding sexuality in football, and there have been widespread calls for an end to one of the last remaining taboos in the game.
Hoefkens, who posed for a gay magazine five years ago, has called for more acceptance so that players no longer feel afraid to openly reveal their sexual orientation.
“I played alongside three gay footballers, including one who was a genuinely big name," he told De Zondag. “They did not hide who they were in the dressing-room.
“One was at Club Brugge, and the other two were in England. I won't name names as I respect their requests.
“One of them would even arrive at training with his boyfriend. They asked us to keep quiet to the outside world, but don't ask me why."
He added: “I find it strange that homosexuality is still a taboo in football. It is a pity. I didn't hesitate for a second to pose for the magazine. That was during a time of renewed violence against gays.
“My parents always taught me that all men are equal, including their sexual orientation. I hope that a top player will one day stand up and announce: 'I'm gay - so what?' Then the taboo will finally disappear. If I were gay I would do it for certain.
“This is something that is generally accepted in society after all.”