Messi fan has left Afghanistan

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The fam­ily of a five-year-old Afghan boy who re­ceived au­to­graphed shirts from his foot­ball hero Lionel Messi (pic­tured) was forced to leave Afghanistan amid con­stant tele­phone threats, the boy’s fa­ther said. Mo­ham­mad Arif Ah­madi - whose son grabbed head­lines when he was pho­tographed wear­ing a home­made Ar­gentina shirt with No. 10 on the back - said they have moved to neigh­bour­ing Pak­istan and set­tled in the city of Quetta, hop­ing for a bet­ter life there. “Life be­came a mis­ery for us,” said Ah­madi, speak­ing over the tele­phone from Quetta. He added that the fam­ily didn’t want to leave Afghanistan, but the threats were just get­ting more and more se­ri­ous. Ah­madi said he feared that his son, Mur­taza Ah­madi, would be kid­napped af­ter be­com­ing an in­ter­net sen­sa­tion af­ter pic­tures of him wear­ing a Messi shirt made out of a striped plas­tic bag went vi­ral. The fam­ily first trav­elled to the Pak­istani cap­i­tal, Is­lam­abad, but couldn’t stay there long be­cause of the high cost of liv­ing. They later moved to Quetta. “I sold all my be­long­ings and brought my fam­ily out of Afghanistan to save my son’s life as well as the lives of the rest of the fam­ily,” the fa­ther said. Ear­lier this year, the Afghan soc­cer fed­er­a­tion had promised to ar­range a meet­ing between Messi, a UNICEF good­will am­bas­sador, and Mur­taza. There were re­ports that ei­ther Messi would come to Afghanistan to visit the boy or that some other ar­range­ment would be made, such as send­ing the boy to Spain, where Messi plays for Barcelona. But none of the op­tions worked out, Ah­madi said.

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