FORMER Brazil international footballer Richarlyson has come out as bisexual.
But he hit out at the ongoing homophobia in the sport and in his homeland.
The two-cap Selecao star had therefore been reluctant to reveal his sexuality due to the possible fallout it could have.
Richarlyson opened up on dating both men and women in his appearance on the Nos Armarios dos Vestiarios podcast.
The 39-year-old said: “All my life I’ve been asked if I’m gay.
“I’ve had a relationship with a man and I’ve had a relationship with a woman as well.
“But then I speak here today and soon the news will be printed, ‘Richarlyson is bisexual’.
“And the meme is ready. They will say, ‘Wow, but swear? I had no idea.’
“Man, I’m normal, I have wants and desires.
“I’ve dated a man, I’ve dated a woman, but so what? What are you going to do? Anything.”
Richarlyson is doubtful his honesty will have much impact or lead to positive change in Brazil, where footballers are idolised but homophobia is rife.
He continued: “It’s going to paint a headline that Richarlyson talked about on a podcast that he’s bisexual. Nice.
“And then it will rain with reports, and most importantly, which is the agenda, it will not change, which is the issue of homophobia.
“Unfortunately, the world is not prepared to have this discussion and deal with it naturally.
“Do you understand why I think it’s unnecessary for you to label yourself sometimes?
“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 football, okay, but football is a small business.
“Ah, but your speech can help. No, it won’t help.
“Who is Richarlyson, for God’s sake?! I am a mere ordinary citizen, who had a nice history in football, but I will not be able to move mountains to stop these crimes, to stop homophobia in football.”
Richarlyson enjoyed a fine career as a holding midfielder in his home country, especially with giants Sao Paulo and Atletico Mineiro.
He won three Serie A titles and the Club World Cup with Sao Paulo before Copa Libertadores glory with Mineiro in 2013.
And in 2008, he earned both of his caps for the Brazil national team.
He decided to retire for good in 2021 with his heart set on moving into commentating – but feared coming out could affect his post-playing career.
‘TODAY I FELT COMFORTABLE SPEAKING’
Richarlyson added: “I didn’t want to be ruled out because of my sexuality, that I’m bisexual.
“I wanted people to see me as a mirror for everything I’ve achieved in my work.
“I never put my sexuality ahead of my work, and I never would. And I’m not saying that now because I stopped playing.
“A lot of mean people will say that, which I said now because I don’t play anymore. Not.
“I never spoke because it was not my priority, as it was not today, but today I felt comfortable speaking.”