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Former Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra denies 'absurd' rumours that he is fighting in the Syrian war

The rumour had been circulating on social networking websites

Former Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra has dismissed rumours circulating on social networking websites that he has become a jihadist in the Syria war.

Diarra is now playing for Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian top flight, but the rumour was started last week on various websites that the France international, who also previously played for Chelsea and Portsmouth in England, had gone to fight in the Middle East to join the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad.

The 29-year-old's lawyer, Eric Dupond Moretti, stated today that the midfielder "denies in the most formal, the most categoric, the most absolute fashion that he has gone to Syria".

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

Diarra had responded to the claims on Twitter earlier this week to offer a firm denial too.

Diara moved from Chelsea to Arsenal in 2007, but only made seven league appearances for the club before signing for Portsmouth and then Real Madrid for £18m in January 2009. He won the La Liga title with Real in 2012.