Ex-Pompey player denies being jihadi

Lassana Diarra in his time at Portsmouth
Lassana Diarra in his time at Portsmouth
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FORMER Pompey player Lassana Diarra has denied being a jihadist fighting in Syria.

It comes after a video was uploaded online showing a man claiming to be a former Arsenal player now fighting in the war-torn country.

The picture that prompted Diarra's statement

The picture that prompted Diarra's statement

That prompted speculation it was Diarra – but his lawyer has denied the claim.

Lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti told the Mail Online: ‘He has never set foot in Syria. It’s absurd. He is not a jihadist, he is a footballer with Lokomotiv Moscow.’

Diarra arrived at Pompey for £5.5m from Arsenal in January 2008.

He scored three goals in the 32 appearances for the Blues, and was rated by many supporters as the finest footballer they had seen play for the club.

Those displays helped Harry Redknapp’s side to win the FA Cup, before Diarra left a year after he joined to move to Real Madrid for £20m – a club record for a fee received.

The video of the man purporting to be Diarra was posted on FiSyria.com.

The man says he was radicalised in London before leaving two years ago to join al-Qaeda linked ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – to fight in Syria where civil war has raged for four years.

It is the same group Portsmouth jihadi Ifthekar Jaman, 23, died fighting for in December last year.

As reported, counter-terrorism police swooped on his family home last week.