Lionel Messi To Fulfill Afghan Kid’s Dreams

Lionel Messi To Fulfill Afghan Kid’s Dreams
Lionel Messi L.F. Salas / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Lionel Messi, this generation’s greatest soccer player, is about to score big karma points from the man upstairs.


Last week, an Afghani boy won the world’s heart when photos emerged of his plastic bag-made Messi replica jersey. Touched by the child’s dedication, who resides in the war-torn Jaghori district in the Afghan province of Ghazni, the soccer star had promised to hunt him down.

The Afghan Football Federation (AFF) confirmed Monday that Murtaza Ahmadi will get to meet his hero in Barcelona. “The management of the Afghan Football Federation has received emails from Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona regarding the meeting,” federation spokesman Syed Ali Kazemi said.

“We are doing our best to coordinate their meeting. The date and the venue is still not confirmed yet, but there are chances of Ahmadi flying to Spain to meet his idol (Messi),” added the AFF spokesman.

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“I love Messi and football. I will meet him one day. I want to become like him (Messi),” the five-year-old Ahmadi told Al Jazeera on Monday.

Ahmadi’s father, Arif Murtaza, revealed to CNN how the plastic jersey came about. “He kept crying for days asking for the shirt until his brother Hamayon helped him make one from the plastic bag to make him happy. He stopped crying after wearing that plastic bag shirt.”

Homayoun was the one who made the improvised jersey – that perfectly fit the five-year-old boy. The jersey was somehow tacked together with plastic bags with parallel blue lines – to resemble Messi’s Argentina jersey.  “Murtaza found a plastic bag and ran towards me asking me to make a jersey out of it for him. We can’t even imagine buying the original Messi jersey. We just can’t afford it so, to make my brother happy, I made a shirt out of that plastic bag for him,” the 15-year-old Homayoun revealed to Al Jazeera.

Mistaken for an Iraqi…

When the pictures first went viral, the young fan was mistaken for an Iraqi living in Dohuk. Morning News USA too published an article last week citing the kid as an Iraqi. We’d like to apologize for the misinformation.

It was later that the kid’s uncle residing in Australia revealed that it was his nephew in the photographs.

Lionel Messi, who recently won his fifth Ballon d’Or award, is expected to meet the kid at Camp Nou, Barcelona’s home turf.