The story of a former East German footballer who left the professional game after deciding to come out of the closet is to be made into a film.

Marcus Urban, 38, was sent to a sports boarding school at aged 13 and played for the national youth teams in the 1990s before settling at second division club Rot-Weiss Erfurt.

“As I was incredibly aggressive, I played central midfield, was a play maker like Rafael van der Vaart at Hamburg,” he told a newspaper last year.

“When I left the place, I was again the shy grey mouse. I was full of complexes.”

Mr Urban said he realised that life as an openly gay professional player would be impossible and gave up his career. Today he works with disabled artists.

Berlin-based GrandHotelPictures has confirmed a biopic of Mr Urban is in development. The film is based on Ronny Blaschke’s Versteckspieler, a biography Mr Urban published in Germany last year

“It is a kind of coming of age story for adults where we will carefully add fictional elements to the real-life story in order to create a stronger message out of Marcus Urban’s biography,” according to producer Norbert Kneissl.

GrandHotel partner Ken Duken said: “We want to give a more sensitive treatment of the subject similar to the tonality of films like Billy Elliot.”