Russian Premier League leaders Lokomotiv Moscow have rubbished reports that their French midfielder Lassana Diarra has become a jihadist in the Syrian war, saying the player has been training as usual.
"It's rubbish, nothing else," Lokomotiv spokesman Denis Novoselov told AFP, following up on comments made by the French international's lawyer on Tuesday.
"I've seen the video on the internet, which served as the basis for the press speculation. The guy in that footage doesn't look like Lass (Diarra) at all. It's obvious for anybody who has seen Diarra just once."
Novoselov said that Diarra, who has just recovered from an injury, was currently training at the club's base preparing for this weekend's match against his old club Anzhi Makhachkala and did not wish to make any comments on what is a "silly story".
Earlier this week British tabloid the Daily Mirror reported social media rumours that Diarra had gone to Syria where the war is now into a fourth year and has cost the lives of over 150,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"He has never set foot in Syria," said Diarra's French lawyer Eric Dupond Moretti. "It's absurd. He is not a jihadist, he is a footballer with Lokomotiv Moscow."
Diarra, 29, has played for English sides Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth as well as Real Madrid but he moved to Russia in 2012 to join Anzhi, before joining Lokomotiv last summer.
Diarra has won 28 caps for France but last played for Les Bleus in August 2010.