Afghan bag shirt boy meets his idol Messi

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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 yes­ter­day. 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, is also due to walk out onto the pitch with the Ar­gen­tinian at Doha’s Al-Ghar­rafa sta­dium.

“The im­age the world wanted to see,” tweeted Qatar’s 2022 World Cup or­gan­is­ers, who brought the pair to­gether. “The six 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 or­gan­i­sa­tion 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 neigh­bour 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. 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.” — AFP

DOHA: FC Barcelona Lionel Messi (L) holds the hands of Afghan boy Mur­taza Ah­madi on the pitch be­fore the start of a friendly foot­ball match against Saudi Ara­bia’s AlAhli FC yes­ter­day in the Qatari cap­i­tal Doha. — AFP

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