Former Brazilian national team player openly declares himself bisexual and calls for an end to homophobia

Former midfielder and sports commentator Richarlyson Barbosa, who came to play for the Brazilian national team, publicly declared himself bisexual and asked that cases of homophobia in football and throughout the country be persecuted and ended.

“All my life I have been asked if I am gay. I already had relationships with men and women. But today, and that will be the news that will be published, I say: ‘Richarlyson is bisexual’ “said the former Sao Paulo soccer player in a podcast about homophobia and machismo in Brazilian soccer.

Richarlyson hopes that his position will go some way towards seriously tackling homophobia in football, although he believes that “the world is not prepared to have that discussion and deal naturally” with this scourge.

“There is a more important issue, there are people dying. Brazil is the country that kills the most homosexuals. And we are here talking about soccer, ok, but soccer is something small. ‘Ah, but your speech can help.’ No, it won’t help. Who is Richarlyson, for God’s sake?! I am just a common citizen,” he pointed out.

The former midfielder, the first soccer player who played in the First Division of the Brazilian Championship and in the national team to speak openly about his sexual condition, regretted that his words “They will not move mountains to end homophobia in football”, although he stressed its importance to raise awareness.

Likewise, he asked for greater punishments for cases of homophobia in the stadiums and opted to sanction even the clubs.

“You have to punish the club, there has to be a camera just for that in the stadium, to find out who he is and punish him. If the penalty is three years in prison, you have to punish the guy, get him out of the stadium for a year and make the club pay for that situation. That’s the only way it’s going to get better,” he said.

Richarlyson, today 39 years old, suffered during his sports career the indifference and attacks of fans for his today declared bisexuality.

“Every day I had to show something different. One mistake of mine counted as five. They attacked me, they looked like a pack of wolves. I knew that I was never a crackI was never technically amazing, but I was smart to know what I had to do to stay ahead of the pack.”

Richarlyson lived his best years in Sao Paulo, but played for a good number of Brazilian teams, including Fortaleza and Atlético Mineiro, and was summoned in 2008 with the senior team, with which he played two games as a left back.

His track record includes three Brazilian Championships, two Libertadores Cups and a Club World Cup.

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