Swedish football star Freddie Ljungberg says he is “proud” of the rumours he is gay.

The 33-year-old player has been the subject of gossip about his sexuality for years, due to his bachelor lifestyle and love of musicals and fashion.

He told the New York Times: “There’s been a gay rumour for a long time. I don’t mind at all. I am proud of that. I love fashion, and I think so many gay people have amazing style. So that is a compliment to me.”

He added: “I really don’t know why people are so interested. I just made a decision that I won’t talk about it.”

The Calvin Klein underwear model is frequently been ranked one of football’s gay favourites, alongside David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But reacting to one accolade in 2006, he said: “I am not gay. If I was I would just say I was and it wouldn’t bother me.”