Afghan Boy Whose Pic Went Viral Meets His Soccer Hero, Lionel Messi

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Here’s a heart-warming story. A six-year-old Afghan boy whose picture went viral online has finally met his soccer hero, Barcelona and Argentina star, Lionel .

Murtaza Ahmadi was pictured wearing a jersey made from a striped plastic bag back in January. The plastic bag shirt was made for little Murtaza by his brother when he wouldn’t stop crying. Living in a poor village far from the city it was impossible for the family to get the official jersey. The plastic shirt stopped him crying and soon a picture of Murtaza in his home-made jersey went viral sparking a search to find him…

Murtaza and his family had been forced to flee his home to Pakistan in May after receiving death threats from extremists. His father, Arif described receiving “20-30 unknown threatening calls in Afghanistan asking why I’m teaching my kid about football and not teaching him about the Quran.”

The boy’s uncle, Azim Ahmadi, an Afghan living in Australia, saw the appeal to find Murtaza and put the BBC in touch with the boy’s father, and UNICEF were able to deliver two signed jerseys and a signed ball to Murtaza from Lionel Messi!

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However, the story doesn’t end there as young Murtaza has now had the chance to meet his hero! Murtaza met Messi in Doha ahead of Tuesday’s friendly match between Barcelona and Al Ahli, where he walked out onto the pitch with his hero.

Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizing committee released a picture via Twitter – with the caption:

“The image the world wanted to see. The six-year-old boy who dreamed of meeting his hero, Messi, finally comes true.”

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