UPDATE (May 4): Alberto Lejárraga posted a message on Twitter addressing the attention his photo received. He says it was a “celebratory picture,” and not a declaration of his sexuality. His full message is below:
Previously: It’s been a great week for Alberto Lejárraga. The pro Spanish goalie got promoted to a higher pro league, and is celebrating in style.
In his tweet announcing the move, he posted adorable pictures of his family, and two photos kissing another man (who happens to be wearing Lejárraga’s jersey).
“Thank you for always being by my side, during the good and the bad,” Lejárraga wrote. “This time it was our turn to live the beauty of this moment.”
He added two red heart emojis to punctuate his loving message.
Muchas gracias por estar siempre a mi lado, en las buenas y en las no tan buenas! Esta vez nos tocó vivir lo bonito de esto! GRACIAS ❤️ ❤️ pic.twitter.com/gwsvZQztDW— Alberto Lejárraga (@alberto_leja) April 25, 2023
Lejárraga, 28, plays for Marbella FC, which competes in the fifth level of Spain’s soccer league system, Tercera Federación.
The Mirror says he earned a promotion to the fourth-tier, Segunda Federación, following a 1-0 victory Sunday.
While Lejárraga didn’t specify his sexuality, he received support of Twitter for showing his true self.
“Thank you, for being brave and not hiding and being free!!! THANK YOU,” wrote one follower.
“I want to tell you that you are brave and congratulations,” said another.
“Love you for being who you are: brave, honest, respectful, intelligent. You deserve all the good that the future holds for you and you will always be supported by the people who truly love you,” added a third.
While Major League Soccer has had two active players come out publicly — Robbie Rogers and Collin Martin — the European leagues haven’t followed.
Jakob Jankto, a native of the Czech Republic, was the first active pro player in Spain to publicly come out earlier this year.
This post has been edited. A previous version incorrectly said Lejárraga publicly came out as gay. We apologize for the error.