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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lassana Diarra denies jihadist rumours

Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Lassana Diarra has denied claims that he is a jihadist in the war in Syria.

Lassana Diarra won the most recent of his France caps in 2010
Lassana Diarra is a former Arsenal player.

It was rumoured that Diarra, 29, had moved to the war-torn country after a video emerged last week of a masked man -- who claims to be a former Arsenal player -- calling on Islamist extremists to join the battle in Syria.

However, the France international, who used to play for the Gunners, has issued a statement via his lawyer distancing himself from such talk.

"Lassana denies in the most formal, the most categoric, the most absolute fashion that he has gone to Syria," Diarra's lawyer Eric Dupond Moretti is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

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

"He will play in Lokomotiv’s league game on Sunday."

The war in Syria is now into a fourth year and has cost the lives of over 150,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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