Afghan boy who wore plastic bag jersey meets idol Messi

Agence France-Presse
Afghan boy who wore plastic bag jersey meets idol Messi
Six-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi gets his dream come true after meeting Lionel Messi

DOHA, Qatar – An Afghan boy who became an internet sensation after pictures of him wearing an improvised Lionel Messi football shirt went viral finally got to meet his superstar idol on Tuesday, December 13.

Murtaza Ahmadi met the Barcelona forward in Doha, where the Spanish league champions are due to play a friendly match against Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli later.

Six-year-old Murtaza, from the rural Ghazni province southwest of Kabul, walked out onto the pitch as a mascot hand-in-hand with the Argentinian at the start of the match at Doha’s Al-Gharrafa stadium.

“The image the world wanted to see,” tweeted Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizers, who brought the pair together. 

“The 6 year old boy who dreamed of meeting his hero, #Messi, finally comes true.”


A delighted Murtaza said: “I’m very happy to have met my hero. It is a dream for me,” according to a statement released by Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the committee overseeing organization of the 2022 tournament.

Murtaza became a worldwide online hit earlier this year after he was pictured wearing his hero’s shirt, made out of a plastic bag, with the name Messi and the famous number 10 written on it in marker pen.

The shirt was made by his teenage brother Homayoun after his neighbor threw away grocery bags.

“I love Messi, he plays really well, and I love the shirt my brother made for me,” he told AFP at the time.

His family could not afford to buy him a replica kit.

Pictures of Murtaza playing football in his improvised kit were first posted on Facebook.

MESSI FAN. In this photograph taken on January 29, 2016, Afghan boy and Lionel Messi fan Murtaza Ahmadi, 5, wears a plastic bag jersey as he plays football in Jaghori district of Ghazni province. Photo by AFP

After the pictures went viral, Murtaza received a real shirt from his hero.

His father, Mohammad Arif Ahmadi, said at the time: “I want my son to become the Messi of Afghanistan.”

Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all started the friendly game. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.