Men don't have to be romantically involved to extremely care about each other.
They can be lifetime friends, soulmate, comrades.
And claiming LGBT is so underrated, discriminated, ignored in manga and call the mangaka homophobic just because main male characters in your favourite manga didn’t get together is really childish, like a kid crying over candies he can’t have.
We have GENRES for that, as I would seek shoujo for bubbly romance, shoujo-ai for GL, shounen-ai for BL, shounen for the fights and upcoming spirits, josei for mature complicated adult relations, seinen for darker and more complex battles/encounters, kodomo to relieve my soul. You can’t expect all of those to be “fair” in one thing, it’d be a mess.
I wouldn’t read shoujo for fights or shounen for bubbly romance. I didn’t choose to read Naruto for romance, and I stopped reading Naruto for a short time because the fights are getting boring and the “friendship” learning got duplicated too much.
If you know me in person (my facebook and before Naruto ended), you’d know I took analysis more on character development, metaphors taken from the manga, not just SasuSaku alone. And I did continue reading because the ninja war seemed promising, without ANY hope for SasuSaku at all.
I was really stricken with surprise and amazement at that ending since I never thought Kishi would include that much of romance aspect in Naruto. Not many shounen authors did.