London’s Arsenal soccer club has denied reports that one of its former players features is now an Islamist extremist in Syria who features in a new video.
The footage, which was posted by FiSyria.com and later uploaded by MEMRI, shows a masked man posing with an AK47 rifle and speaking to the camera.
He is identified in the video as Abu Isa al-Andalus, and according to FiSyria, he joined the al-Qaeda-linked rebel organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The site said he’s originally from Portugal, where he “grew up with [soccer star Cristiano] Ronaldo,” and that “he played for Arsenal in London” but then “left football, money and the European way of life to make the path of Allah.”
In the video, al-Andalus rails against Western culture and calls on viewers to either come fight the Assad regime or send help to the rebels.
“If you have family in these countries it’s a must for you to put your children in the kaffir schools,” he says. “Who is going to teach your children? It’s going to maybe be a gay, maybe a drug dealer, maybe a pedophile. It’s very important for you to protect your children. Allah says they are the worst of creatures.”
Arsenal denied any connection to the man.
“We do not recognize the individual from the published clips and we don’t have any record of a Mr. Abu Iza Andalusi representing the club at any level,” a spokesman for the soccer club was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.