Diarra confirms cousin death in Paris attacks

Lassana Diarra’s cousin was among the victims of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, the France midfielder has confirmed.

Diarra played 80 minutes of France’s 2-0 friendly win over Germany at the Stade de France and it later emerged that three people were killed following a bomb blast at the Gate J part of the stadium.

This incident was one of a series of attacks that saw over 120 people killed and a further 99 in critical condition, according to the latest figures released by French officials.

In a social media post on Saturday, Diarra announced that his cousin Asta Diakite was killed in the attacks.

The former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Arsenal player, who currently plays for Ligue 1 club Marseille, called for unity in the face of terror “which has no colour and no religion”.

Diarra’s statement read: “Following the dramatic events that took place yesterday at Paris and Saint-Denis, it’s with infinite sadness that I’m talking today.

“As you may know, I was personally affected by these attacks. My cousin, Asta Diakite, is one of the victims of one of the attacks that took place yesterday, as were around 100 other innocent French people. She was, for me, a source of support; a big sister.

“In this atmosphere of terror, it’s very important for all of us who are representing our country and its diversity to talk and stay close together in front of something horrible, which has no colour and no religion.

“Together we all have to protect love, respect and peace. Thanks for your support and your messages. Take care of yourself and yours and may the victims rest in peace.”

Diarra’s international team-mate Antoine Griezmann earlier announced that his sister survived the attack on the Bataclan theatre.

At least 87 fatalities were reported from the Bataclan, where American rock band Eagles of Death Metal were performing when gunmen stormed the venue.

Restaurants and bars in the city’s 10th and 11th arrondissement, nearby to the Bataclan, also suffered fatal shooting attacks. It is unclear in which attack Diakite was killed.

All sporting events due to be staged in Paris this weekend have been postponed, but the French Football Federation (FFF) has confirmed Tuesday’s international friendly with England at Wembley will go ahead as planned.