Former Arsenal star Diarra forced to deny he is a jihadist fighting in Syria

Lassana Diarra has been forced to formally deny claims that he had become an Islamic warrior fighting in Syria.

The 29-year-old, who patrolled midfield for Arsenal, Chelsea and Portsmouth, said he had never set foot in the war-torn country.

LASSANAEric Dupond-Moretti, a lawyer for the France international, said Paris-born Diarra ‘denies in the most formal, the most categoric, the most absolute fashion that he has gone to Syria’.
Diarra is now playing for Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia. Dupond-Moretti said: ‘He has never set foot in Syria. It’s absurd. He is not a jihadist, he is a footballer with Lokomotiv Moscow.’

There were social media rumours that Diarra had gone to Syria, where a civil war is now into a fourth year and has cost more than 150,000 lives.

Mr Dupond-Moretti said Diarra was expected to turn out for his Russian team in a league game on Sunday.

After winning the FA Cup with Pompey in 2008, Diarra joined Real Madrid and was a member of the squad that won the Spanish championship in 2010.

Hundreds of young Muslim Frenchmen are currently fighting jihad in Syria, mainly for Al Qaeda forces.

DIARAFrench Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that all those who return home will create a huge security risk.

Earlier this year two teenage French boys ran away from school to travel to Syria to join the war there, before being arrested in Turkey.

The footage, which appeared at the weekend and is apparently shot in Syria, shows the man calling on Muslims in the West to travel to the war-torn region and fight with radical militants.

The man, whose face is hidden by a balaclava and is seen clutching a AK47 rifle, is identified as Abu Isa al-Andalus.

According to, the site that posted the video, the man moved to London from his native country to play for Arsenal after growing up alongside a world-famous footballer.

DIARA2It claims the man was radicalised in the capital two years ago before ‘leaving everything’ to join the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He later adds: ‘We have conquered many cities and we are now implementing the Sharia. We have areas where the kaffirs (non-Muslims) are paying us the tax.

‘If we stay in the kaffir countries we have to pay (taxes) to them. Do you want to be humiliated by this? Think about it.

‘If you have family in these (Western) countries it’s a must for you to put your children in the kaffir schools. “Who is going to teach your children?” It’s going to maybe be a gay, maybe a drug dealer, maybe a paedophile.

‘It’s very important for you to protect your children. Allah says they are the worst of creatures.’

The Russian-based website does not confirm the man’s previous identity on the page, which shows two videos each roughly four-minutes long.