TWO players for the Italian football club Lazio, Keita Balde and Patricio Gabarron Gil, shared a photo of themselves holding hands poolside on social media over the weekend.

They captioned the image with two male emojis and a love heart, prompting fans to debate what the image might mean.

Regardless of the intent, the image has heartwarmingly elicited an overwhelming majority of positive responses as fans took to social media.

“If Keita turns out gay this is gonna change football forever, he’s gonna get all the support he needs from friends, family, and supporters,” one fan wrote.

“If Keita is gay then fair play for coming out. Very bold. Sets a good message for other homosexual players that it’s okay to come out.”

Here in Australia, the Sydney University AFL club plans to hold a pride game to help combat homophobia in sport.

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