Diarra's in midfield, not on the Syrian battlefield
MIDFIELDER Lassana Diarra has dismissed rumours that he had become a jihadist in the Syria war.
"In Syria??? Lol, nice joke, guys, have a good evening on Twitter," the 29-year-old Frenchman said on his Twitter account.
A spokesman for his Russian club, Lokomotiv Moscow, said: "It's rubbish, nothing else."
The British tabloid Daily Mirror reported this week that a former Arsenal footballer had gone to Syria, where the war is now in its fourth year. The article did not name the player, but fuelled social media rumours.
Diarra "has never set foot in Syria", said the player's French lawyer, Mr Eric Dupond Moretti, on Tuesday. "It's absurd. He is not a jihadist, he is a footballer with Lokomotiv Moscow."
Diarra has played for English sides Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth, as well as Real Madrid. He moved to Russia in 2012 to join Anzhi Makhachkala, before joining Lokomotiv last summer.
He has won 28 caps for France, but last played for Les Bleus in August 2010.