Speculation in Spain as Barcelona Footballers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gerard Pique are Photographed Having Intimate Moment


A moment caught on camera between Barcelona football stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gerard Pique is stirring up a lot of speculation in Spain and in the football world.

Guanabee writes: "The image has caused people to speculate over the nature of their relationship. We should note that Ibrahimovic is married with children, and Piqué has been linked to Bollywood actress Lisa Lazarus. That, however, doesn’t preclude them from being involved with one another."


  1. rovex says

    That does look like a tender moment. Its not the way your average straight guy stands with another straight guy. The closeness isnt the issue, but the hands AND the closeness is a bit revealing, even for latin/Mediterranean men (who seem more comfortable doing such things)its a bit unusual.

  2. Ray says

    I don’t see why this is causing a stir. Zlatan looks upset; Gerard looks like he’s comforting a friend.

    There have been plenty of times in life when I’ve been upset and had someone there to listen to me, or hug me, and it’s never been anything more than two human beings caring for each other. Replace these two with any other pairing (gay male/straight female; two females) and no one would bat an eye. Why does the world think that men showing sensitivity to one another means that they are gay?

  3. Kevin says

    I think it’s sad that whenever 2 men express concern, deep feelings, or any kind of intimacy, it’s immediately painted with a gay brush. I’m sure they don’t think of themselves as gay.

    Are we still stuck with stereotypes of men as macho and women as emotional?

  4. RONTEX says

    While I agree that moment looks tender and sweet their peen’s are almost tip to tip and for most straight dudes that’s a no fly zone, just sayin’

  5. GregV says

    I agree, Ray. Rovex is probably right that the “average” straight man (well at least the average straight man in Peoria and Podunk) is too scared to get that close to his friends. But millions of people are not “average” in all kinds of ways. These guys are not at all “average” in their athletic abilities. They are way above average in looks. They are likely far above average in income and travel experience. Maybe something about them (trigonometry marks? — I don’t know) could be below average.
    I think it’s unfortunate that men, whether straight gay or bisexual, are examined under a microscope upon any showing of affection or emotion.

  6. JT - the original says

    I’m reminded of Ewan McGregor’s response to George Stephanopoulos’ question about a kiss. In this case, I think the appropriate thing to say when folks ask what this is all about is “it’s holding hands.”

  7. Fred says

    WOW, leave these guys alone. If there is a chance they are gay and not out, WE should not be posting photos and making comments like this.


    That is a very beautiful albeit innocent moment. The Eurospanish man is much like his Italian brother—VERY unguardedly emotional. Anyone who has been to Florence and Barcelona mustn’t gasp at this photo. I call it the “Gareth Thomas Effect” where suspicion lurks everywhere now that reality had hit home with his coming out in the testosterone-saturated sports universe.

  9. Rafael says

    Who knows what’s going on between this two. But as noted by the Spanish press, this photograph is being released at a time when the competition for the title against the Real Madrid is at its peak.

  10. ohplease says

    How dare you say someone might be gay? Don’t you know that’s the worst thing you can say about someone? Especially two public figures IN public? How horrible to show a picture of two men being nice to each other! I’m horrified and disgusted! We must never speak of these things! You must keep the secret — NOBODY KNOWS GAY MEN EVEN EXIST!!!

    Or, in other words, get over the self-loathing, Kyle and Fred.

  11. JTlvr says

    I’m not going to speculate on their relationship based on one photo.

    If they’re gay lovers, it’s big news in the sports world. But on a personal level, this is Barcelona (aka, the San Francisco of Europe — sorry Amsterdam!). I lived there for 5 years after college… and believe me, plenty of soccer and basketball stars were out at gay clubs and saunas, trying to fly under the radar…

  12. TampaZeke says

    Wow, I’m astonished at the level of homophobic sounding defensiveness in some of the comments here.

    I’m hearing a number of you expressing the view that these men are being insulted and demeaned by speculation that they might be gay.

    Though I TOTALLY agree that men, straight and otherwise, SHOULD be allowed to express themselves with each other more intimately, without judgment or assumptions of homosexuality, the reality is that we aren’t there yet and straight men, not even in Barcelona, express this level of intimacy with just friends.

    Is this an invasion of their privacy? Yes. Is sports stars privacy invaded each and every day without anyone complaining? YES. If this man is married with kids, why should the press keep this a secret any more than if he were caught in the same situation with a woman? If that were the case NONE of you would be crying foul.

  13. Hank says

    Why on earth would this photo incite hysteria? What is wrong with people? (If they were punching each other, people would probably feel very comfortable with that. But intimacy between two men…people go crazy.)

  14. ty says

    Wow, so now that we’ve worked 30 years to get respect, straight guys want a piece of the action? And Matt, your gaydar wouldn’t go off because they are not attracted to “out” gays, only other straights…

  15. Jon says

    I was in Paris once when, late at night, I was standing at an intersection where a car hit a guy on a motorcycle. The motorcyclist was on the ground on his back, conscious but in a lot of pain. The first guy who got to him (while others called for an ambulance and did things like get a coat to lay on top of him) ended up kneeling next to him, holding his hand, stroking his forehead, and quietly speaking to him. They were complete strangers, but from their body language you would have thought they were lovers.

    The point being that what looks gay to American eyes may very not well be when the people involved are European.

  16. says

    Re: Felix’ Brokeback Mountain quote – my thoughts exactly. They are so in love it is obvious to me. Here’s hoping they have a nice big wedding that fills the front pages of every one of Spain’s newspapers and ‘Net blogs!

  17. Joseph says

    There IS a certain element of homophobia in casting these men as gay simply because one seems to be consoling the other. I mean, would we immediately leap to the conclusion that the two men in this photograph (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_EiPCVIRC_4o/R-fgq9fE2WI/AAAAAAAAAHM/RJV2da9jTyc/s1600-h/soldiers.bmp) are gay? We don’t know the whole story here; seems to me that one man is upset and the other is consoling him. It is a shame that two men can’t be emotionally close to each other without the world assuming them to be gay. Which isn’t, of course, a bad thing, but I’m just saying.

  18. SFshawn says

    Isn’t it amazing that in 2010 in a world daily saturated with messages(and the passive acceptance)of violence and hatred that male to male intimacy(in any form)makes people so insecure,uncomfortable and angry?

  19. Steve says

    For the record, I am a very different Steve from the one who posted earlier.

    I don’t want to speculate on what’s going on in this photo, other than one looks really upset and a close friend is comforting him. To those who say they’ve never been comforted like this by someone who was “just a friend” I pity you. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have 2 or 3 people who were like brothers to me, and when things got really bad we didn’t care about what others thought. We only cared about our friend and brother who was in pain.

    As for those saying that speculating that these two men might be gay is libelous (correct term considering this is written), well if they were single men that would not be the case. Even in the current situation with one of them married, there is nothing wrong with the speculation. The issue becomes how would accusations, false or otherwise, affect his relationship. I’ve seen a relationship break up because someone saw one party break a diet that both were on. I saw my parents’ 20 year marriage almost end because an untrue rumor went around my HS that my father was sleeping with one of my classmate’s mother. While there is no shame in being gay, wait until we have more evidence than one touching photo to speculate. Especially if it might cause harm to more than just that one person.

  20. Eugene says


    “I’ve seen a relationship break up because someone saw one party break a diet that both were on.”

    Good riddance.We can’t be responsible for other people’s childishness.

    As for these men, I don’t see how this situation is bad for them. If they really are gay, they clearly should end the relationships with their wives. If they’re straight, they should dismiss it all as a silly misunderstanding – or even say that good friends can be so intimate with each other without being gay.

  21. jamal49 says

    @Kyle: I read all the comments and yours is exactly right. “It is none of our business what is going on between them.” In this age of cell-phone cams, privacy seems to be dead; or, at least, discretion by the observer. Also, they’re European. European men don’t have the pathological hang-ups that American men have about showing affection to another man. What’s sad is the whole “are they gay?” speculation. Who the f&ck CARES? Well, duh. Obviously, 90% of the people here do.

  22. patrick nyc says

    If either of these guys was caught doing the same with another woman they were not married to it would be all over as well. Is it right? No. But it is a fact that gossip has been around forever.

    I have been to Spain, Italy as well as many other countries. While their straight men are light years ahead of us in America they do hold hands, kiss and hug walking down the street. These two clearly have something deeper going on. Is it none of my business, no, but it is out here and should be treated no different than Tiger Woods or Jesse James.

  23. says

    Europe is definitely liberal but its not THAT liberal people. Been to Europe and lived in Eastern Europe, never saw straight men THAT close.

    Its all in the body language.. the holding of hands, the tilting of the head, the proximity of their bodies…looks EXTRA friendly to me.

  24. Bill says

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gerard Pique are gay. Look at Gerard’s pelvis thrust into Zlatan’s thigh. Europeans are not as liberal as some believe. Homosexuality is condemned the world over by haterosexuals.

  25. TampaZeke says

    Yeah STEVE, and you’re also GAY, so what’s your point? No one said that gay men don’t comfort each other like this.

    JOSEPH said, “There IS a certain element of homophobia in casting these men as gay simply because one seems to be consoling the other.”

    Really JOSEPH? THAT’S what you consider homophobic? That people are speculating about the sexuality of two men who are being intimate with each other? It’s not the fact that some people are acting as if any such speculation is insulting, demeaning or degrading to two men who may well be “perfectly” heterosexual, that seems homophobic? Why are people acting as if the mere consideration that someone might be gay is offensive and inappropriate? I consider THAT to be the homophobia that I’m seeing in these comments.

  26. Paul R says

    Thank god Bill chimed in and reminded us that all straight people are devils.

    Actually yes, Europeans are liberal, at least compared with every other region (go ahead and name one that’s more liberal). And no, Gerard’s pelvis is not thrust into Zlatan’s thigh. But you can believe and see whatever you like in your dream world where hate is waiting around every corner.

  27. Steve says

    @Tampazeke: I may be gay, but my none of my friends I mentioned were. There’s a point where closeness between two people goes beyond sexuality. When you see someone you consider family shattered by something tragic, you react and comfort them, public view be damned. Of course, with all the hatred toward our fellow human beings prevalent in the gay community, I can see how that facet of human nature could have been forgotten. Or maybe my friends and I were just lucky and had loving individuals as parents who instilled a sense of caring for our fellow human beings into us at a young age. Who knows. I still see in this picture someone in pain being comforted by a friend.

  28. Drew says

    Of course, maybe just ONE of them is gay and the other is too straight (aka. oblivious) to notice it? Great, now I care about something I didn’t two minutes ago!

  29. wtf says

    And once again, there is no such thing as bisexuality. If they are gay, bi, trans, intersex or asexual, then as long as they are happy and not hurting anyone, who cares? Who really cares about a picture depicting a split second of time that has NO context? Really kids? Thrusting pelvis? Peens touching? Really? What picture are you looking at?
    This looks like a person in pain and another one expressing concern. Period. Go jack off to some real porn guys. Jeez.

    It continues to amaze me that people will speculate on the tiniest amount of non-information. What we really need to focus on are the douchebags doing us harm at FOF and FRC.

  30. Joseph says

    Tampazeke, I didn’t write it the way I wanted to, as I was in a rush; I meant to say that some of the responses in this thread have an air of (self) homophobia, as if to imply that two men being close is gay and thus equals something bad. Sorry for the miscommunication.

  31. Daniel says

    Try to find their feet. In the position they are standing, they d be steping on each others feet. Then check Piques white shirt and jeans where it encounters Zlatans body.

  32. boredwithis says

    Shock horror! two men being affectionate ! OMG send for the police and a priest:) Isn’t it about time people stopped drawing attention to things like this like its some wierdo shit and accept that there are actually gay people in the world…. and surprisingly too that there are actually straight people capable of showing affection to a member of their own sex without getting paranoid about what society thinks….some people in the world need to grow up and get real.If they’re gay or bisexual so what?

  33. petim123 says

    I don’t follow that football so I don’t know who these guys are and I don’t really care. This is the sweetest, warmly erotic photo I’ve seen. If anyone owns the rights I would like a copy I can crop and frame.

  34. nini says

    Gay or not – it really doesn’t matter! They’re both great players from the best team in the world – Barca. It’s probably a fake photo…and jealous (madrid) supporters made it. Pique and Ibra – you’re the best! VISCA BARCA!

  35. Rade says

    Zlatan (“golden” in serbo-croatian-bosnian) is a Bosnian Muslim by birth. Anyone openly gay in Bosnia is deemed to be bashed or killed at some point. If he really IS gay, he’s in for some tough time! It would be a great twist of fate if their national hero turns out to be not so heroic (in their minds). Maybe there is something positive in all this….like getting used to the fact that your role model is swinging both ways?

  36. says

    I agree with OHPLEASE. Why is it so negative to ask if someone might be gay? I can see why a homophobe would think that, but why would a gay person think that? What’s next, Towleroad commenters banding together to make homos stop using the word “gay” because it was a perfectly good word that meant “happy” before and now…? It’s like THE BOYS IN THE BAND in these comments sometimes. And not in the funny way.

  37. nikko says

    The photo is beautiful whatever the truth is. We can all agree to that, no? I love same sex affection, wether non-sexual and sexual. Wonderful!

  38. SCORPIO says

    Why do people think they have the right to comment and speculate about this picture?? Leave them alone. It is none of our business!! Maybe they are good friends (go to the Mediterranean countries and you see a lot of guys holding each other hands without people screaming around gay!) or maybe they are more; but in that case this pic and all the speculations around are most upsetting for Zlatan’s wife and we should stop with it!!
    Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge soccer fan and love Barca!! It is only sad that being gay in the world of sports, especially soccer, is still a huge taboo!!

  39. Barca says

    Gerard Pique is a very warm and expressive guy. Just google his images with other football mates, like Bojan or Cesc. He can’t be lover of all of them!

  40. crispy says

    “They’re both great players from the best team in the world – Barca.”

    I wish that were true… but considering Barca didn’t even make it to the Champions League final this year, I guess that makes them the #3 team in the world.

  41. Oz says

    It looks like an intimate moment between two good friends, havin a talk…. bout their women, or a game. Situations like these can be easily, misinterpreted!

  42. michael says

    I don’t believe he is gay. I don’t believe that the photo is fake. I do see something romantic going, common it’s pretty obvious, though just because two guys have love for each other does not mean they are gay. Being GAY is a lifestyle, saying they are gay is ignorant and stupid. Love is Love, guys know how to please a guy a girl cant, I know that myself, iv’e been with guys who have GF’s and are really straight, majority of the guys I was with, I was their first and to this day only guy, these guys liked me, they didnt like guys, they liked me. Love can happen anywhere, there are chemicals between us, dont judge, let live.

  43. EoinM says

    While I’m not sure how this photo decides proof of gayness, more disturbing is the response from one of the players when asked by a female reporter who said, ‘bring yourself and your sister to my place and see if I’m queer’. As both of these men are in relationships with females that outburst alone tells you what kind of weak-willed, egotistic and paranoid individual we’re dealing with. They’re not worth our time. Move on, people, nothing to see here except terrified footballers possibly or possibly not, caught with pants down.

  44. EM says

    Zac, Barca has informed me that they won’t lose any sleep over your decision, since you were never important anyway.

    PS: There are gays on Real Madrid too.

    Good luck with that assclown.

  45. Danny says

    @ Kevin: Why is it “sad” for something to be painted as “gay”? Sounds like you have some pretty ugly attitudes toward gay.

    I don’t think it’s sad at all.

    The “moment” they’re sharing suggests anything but “straight guys”–especially in the world in which they live. Nope–those boys are

  46. Danny says

    @ Ray: Why? Because it ISN’T DONE in the Mediterranean world – as you well know.

    I’m shocked by the amount of gay self-hatred I consistently see in discussion threads on this blog.

  47. Danny says

    I just reviewed some of the discussion thread about this pic in the non-gay media. It doesnt even come close to being as rabidly homophobic as what I’m reading here.

  48. Danny says

    Here’s my fave from the straight discussion thread:

    ibrahimovic has a girlfriend so does pique. theyre just shaking hands and europians all do that

  49. Jan says

    Could be a tender moment – but interesting that none of them explained what it was about then?! I don’t think they are gay – but they might be bisexual – many guys are – and they have no real need to come out…..they just have sex on the side with dudes every now and then….

Leave A Reply