Why would you want to keep the friendship? You won't be his real friend because as soon as he meets someone else, you're going to be torn and heartbroken. You're only option is reaction.
"Nothing worth having in life comes easy."
If you do nothing, nothing will ever happen. If he does reject you, you'll still feel better because at least you went down fighting. At least you went into the game and came out a stronger person. And what if he doesn't reject you? Then you you'll end up suceeding. Weighing the pros and cons, its obvious you need to tell him how you feel. Don't wait too long.