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Football would fully support players who come out as gay, insist Richarlison and Lucas Digne

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football would fully support players who come out as gay insist richarlison and lucas digne

The football community would unite in support of any active players choosing to come out as gay, Everton duo Richarlison and Lucas Digne have insisted.

Both stars have voiced their support for equality ahead of Liverpool City Region Pride, which is marked with celebrations on Saturday. The event shows unity with the local LGBT+ community.   

Everton have remained strong advocates for inclusion in society and the club also have their own LGBT+ supporters group, Rainbow Toffees.

Everton stars Richarlison and Lucas Digne insist gay footballers would be supported

Everton stars Richarlison and Lucas Digne insist gay footballers would be supported

Everton stars Richarlison and Lucas Digne insist gay footballers would be supported

The duo voiced their support ahead of Liverpool City Region Pride being held on Saturday

The duo voiced their support ahead of Liverpool City Region Pride being held on Saturday

The duo voiced their support ahead of Liverpool City Region Pride being held on Saturday

The Merseyside outfit’s attempts to help eliminate discrimination will have been bolstered by the inspiring comments from two of their finest players. 

As it stands, there are no openly gay footballers in the Premier League or EFL and there remains concern over how a star outing themselves would be greeted.

Everton have helped promote equality in an attempt to create positive change, however, with their All Together Now campaign another key part in this. 

And now Richarlison and Digne have emphasised that any player choosing to come out as gay would receive full and unequivocal support from their team-mates. 

Everton work with the Rainbow Laces campaign and continue to help advocate for equality

Everton work with the Rainbow Laces campaign and continue to help advocate for equality

Everton work with the Rainbow Laces campaign and continue to help advocate for equality

‘I think football is becoming more inclusive and so it should,’ Richarlison told Everton’s official website. ‘The world has changed a lot, we can no longer live as people did 100 years ago.

‘We are all the same and we should be treated this way. Why not in football? We can’t be a bubble in the world.

‘I don’t think it would be a problem here or anywhere else [if a player came out as gay]. Everyone must be treated, first, with respect and equality.

‘I read a letter sent to the press by a gay Premier League athlete, saying the situation he lives in affects his mental health and that he’s afraid to tell his teammates, for fear things will get even worse. It should not be like that.’

Gylfi Sigurdsson sported the Rainbow Laces captain's armband against Chelsea in December

Gylfi Sigurdsson sported the Rainbow Laces captain's armband against Chelsea in December

Gylfi Sigurdsson sported the Rainbow Laces captain’s armband against Chelsea in December

Digne insisted Everton's dressing room would show nothing but respect for a gay team-mate

Digne insisted Everton's dressing room would show nothing but respect for a gay team-mate

Digne insisted Everton’s dressing room would show nothing but respect for a gay team-mate

Digne, who has impressed at left back since signing for Everton in 2018, is also adamant the club’s dressing room would ‘react normally’ in the event of a player on their books revealing they were gay. 

‘Players are open, we talk about every subject,’ the France international said. ‘Nobody would need to be shocked and everything would be okay.

‘It is something which is normal. Everybody is treated equally. This is how it is at Everton and what I have always seen in football. This would be no different, it would not be an issue.’

Ex-Everton midfielder, and now the head of sport at Stuttgart, Thomas Hitzlsperger publicly announced he was homosexual in 2014 after retiring. 

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Dimitar Berbatov fears Romelu Lukaku ‘will want revenge’ if Inter face United in Europa League final

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dimitar berbatov fears romelu lukaku will want revenge if inter face united in europa league final

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has warned the club to fear Romelu Lukaku if they meet Inter Milan in the Europa League final.

United needed extra-time to beat Copenhagen in their quarter-final, thanks to a penalty from Bruno Fernandes. Meanwhile, the Serie A side won a hard-fought contest against Bayer Leverkusen with goals coming from Nicolo Barella and Lukaku. 

The Belgian striker endured a turbulent time at Manchester United before his move to Italy, but he has since found his feet in Antonio Conte‘s side and Berbatov said will be a ‘concern’ for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should they meet in the final.

Dimitar Berbatov has warned Manchester United to fear Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku

Dimitar Berbatov has warned Manchester United to fear Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku

Dimitar Berbatov has warned Manchester United to fear Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side could meet their former striker in the Europa League final

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side could meet their former striker in the Europa League final

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could meet their former striker in the Europa League final 

Lukaku is a concern for me, he’s scored 23 goals for Inter this season which is a great achievement,’ Berbatov told Betfair.

‘I always said I liked him as a player, that if he got chances he would score goals. He’s very quick, and very strong, and his goal on Monday was spectacular. He’s the main danger for whoever they play against.

‘Inter also have Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young, who will know United very well. If they play United in the final, these players will want revenge, to show United that they were wrong to let them go.’ 

Manchester United have a tough semi-final date ahead against Europa League veterans and the most decorated team in the competition’s history with five wins, Sevilla. The LaLiga side netted a late winner against Premier League side Wolves to book their place in the final four.

Berbatov fears that the Belgian will be out for revenge after his turbulent time at Old Trafford

Berbatov fears that the Belgian will be out for revenge after his turbulent time at Old Trafford

Berbatov fears that the Belgian will be out for revenge after his turbulent time at Old Trafford

Meanwhile, Inter Milan must get past Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, who despatched of Basel in the last round. 

Berbatov said that Lukaku would be out for revenge if he gets pitted against the United defence in the final. 

He added: ‘Lukaku would love the chance to bang in some goals against the team that let him go. Lukaku took a lot of criticism in Manchester, and he was right to leave. Look at him now, he has been fantastic for Inter.’

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Former Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen having medical at Benfica ahead of three-year deal

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former tottenham defender jan vertonghen having medical at benfica ahead of three year deal

Former Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen is having a medical at Portuguese giants Benfica on Thursday.

The 33-year-old left Spurs earlier this summer after eight years and 315 appearances in north London.

Competition for the Belgian defender’s signature was high, with Italian sides Roma, Lazio and Inter Milan all keen to acquire his services.

Ex-Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen is having a medical at Benfica in Portugal

Ex-Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen is having a medical at Benfica in Portugal

Ex-Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen is having a medical at Benfica in Portugal

But Benfica appear to have won the battle with the defender having his final medicals checks at the Portuguese club before signing a three-year deal.

Vertonghen arrived at Tottenham in 2012 for a deal believed to be around £10million and became a mainstay in the Spurs defence throughout his time in London. 

He featured 23 times for Tottenham last season but was let go after not being offered a new contract.

Upon announcing his departure from Spurs the 33-year-old said: ‘So my time at the club comes to an end. A sad day for many reasons.

The 33-year-old spent eight years at Spurs but is set to sign a three-year deal at Benfica

The 33-year-old spent eight years at Spurs but is set to sign a three-year deal at Benfica

The 33-year-old spent eight years at Spurs but is set to sign a three-year deal at Benfica 

‘I will miss the friends I’ve made here, the staff that make the club run, playing at the amazing new stadium and of course you fans.

‘Thank you for all the support over the years. You’ve been amazing. We had many unbelievable memories but for now, it’s goodbye.’ 

The Belgian had previously come through the ranks at Ajax, where he played over 200 times. 

He left Tottenham without a trophy to his name though did guide the club to the 2015 League Cup Final and the 2019 Champions League final, both of which Spurs lost to English rivals Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. 

The defender helped Belgium win a bronze medal at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia

The defender helped Belgium win a bronze medal at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia

The defender helped Belgium win a bronze medal at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia

He also came close to a winners’ medal in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Belgium, but had to settle for bronze after his country lost to eventual winners France in Russia. 

The experienced defender will be hoping for better luck with trophies when he completes his transfer to Benfica, who finished as runners-up in the Portuguese top flight. 

Vertonghen will be the Portuguese club’s fourth signing of the summer after completing deals for Brazilian trio Helton Leite, Gilberto and Pedrinho.  

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is perfect for Kai Havertz believes Michael Ballack

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chelsea boss frank lampard is perfect for kai havertz believes michael ballack

Chelsea is the ideal destination for £90million target Kai Havertz to ‘further develop’ his goal-scoring talents under Frank Lampard — according to former Blues and Bayer Leverkusen star Michael Ballack.

The 21-year-old is believed to be a top priority for Lampard, with some reports that the Leverkusen star has already agreed a five-year deal to switch to west London. 

And Ballack, who was a team-mate of Lampard during their playing days, believes the Chelsea manager’s goal-scoring prowess as a player makes him the perfect man to help Havertz take his own impressive record to the next level.

Kai Havertz, rated at £90m, is a strongly reported transfer target for Frank Lampard at Chelsea

Kai Havertz, rated at £90m, is a strongly reported transfer target for Frank Lampard at Chelsea

Kai Havertz, rated at £90m, is a strongly reported transfer target for Frank Lampard at Chelsea

‘I firmly believe that Lampard would be 100 per cent behind Havertz’, Ballack told Bild of the influence the 42-year-old could have on the German star.

‘He likes players who are very dangerous in front of goal and there aren’t many of those.

‘Havertz is a player that Lampard would help further develop, not least because he himself was a midfielder with an eye for goal, who was always moving into dangerous areas, looking to finish off a chance.’

31904338 8622965 image m 13 1597318577688

31904338 8622965 image m 13 1597318577688

Michael Ballack says Lampard’s eye for goal as a player makes him perfect for prolific Havertz

Despite only turning 21 two months ago, Havertz has already featured 150 times for Leverkusen, scoring an astonishing 46 goals and registering 31 assists. 

Chelsea are believed to be the frontrunners for the prolific forward, with Lampard keen to bolster an attack that will already include Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech next season.

The two clubs still have to thrash out negotiations over a fee for the starlet, with the Germans unwilling to lower their £90million valuation of the attacker.

The pair were team-mates together in a successful period for the Blues between 2006-2010

The pair were team-mates together in a successful period for the Blues between 2006-2010

The pair were team-mates together in a successful period for the Blues between 2006-2010

The Blues remain optimistic, though, that a deal can be done in the coming days, with staggered payments preferable for the club, given the financial uncertainties inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Havertz scored his side’s only goal as their Europa League campaign came to an end at the hands of Inter Milan in the quarter-final, his 18th of the season. 

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