Lassana Diarra denies he's a jihadist in the Syria war

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Former Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra has denied he has become a Jihadist in the Syrian conflict - claiming he has never set foot in the country.

Last week it was reported that a former Arsenal footballer had featured in two videos posted on an extremist website in which he urged others to join the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The footballer in question is said to have grown tired of his western life and eschewed his wealth in order to join the Syrian conflict, which has caused the death of around 150,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Now Diarra, who has played for Chelsea, Real Madrid and Portsmouth as well as Arsenal, has moved to deny rumours on social media sites that he is the man in the video.

According to his lawyer Eric Dupond Moretti, the Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder "denies in the most formal, the most categoric, the most absolute fashion that he has gone to Syria.

"He has never set foot in Syria. It's absurd. He is not a jihadist, he is a footballer with Lokomotiv Moscow," he added.

Diarra started his professional career in France with Le Havre,  before he was picked up by Chelsea.

He made the move to Arsenal in 2007, before moving on to Portsmouth a year later. The 29-year-old now plies his trade with Lokomotiv Moscow.

Arsenal are said to be investigating the claims that the man in the video is in some way associated with the club.

A spokesman said: ‘We do not recognise the individual from the published clips and we don’t have any record of a [person of this name] representing the club at any level.’

Diarra is expected to feature for Lokomotiv Moscow against Anzhi Makhachkala on Sunday.

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