Murtaza Ahmadi, the 5-year-old Afghan boy whose photo wearing a homemade Lionel Messi jersey went viral on social media, will get to meet his idol, Afghan soccer officials said Sunday.
"The management of the Afghan Football Federation (AFF) has received e-mails from Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona regarding the meeting," the federation's spokesman, Syed Ali Kazemi, told EFE.
The boy, who lives in a remote village in war-torn Ghazni province, will have his dream come true, the AFF spokesman said.
Photos of Murtaza wearing a blue-and-white jersey made from a plastic bag with Messi's name and number 10 scrawled on it with a pen were posted on social media sites around the world.
The boy, who does not speak fluently yet, told EFE by telephone how much he liked "Meshi" and wanted to "meet and play" with the Barcelona and Argentine national team star.
Murtaza, a member of the Hazara minority, had asked his family for a Messi jersey, but it was impossible to get one due to the remote location of his village, the boy's father, Ahmadi, told EFE.
"In fact, he woke up in the middle of the night and started crying in his bed, until he found a plastic bag one day and took it to his brothers so they could make a Messi jersey for him," the poor farmer said.
The boy continues wearing the homemade plastic jersey when he plays with his friends, shouting at them that he "is Messi," Ahmadi said.
"Murtaza always hits his brothers (fans of Real Madrid star striker Cristiano Ronaldo), he jumps on them and hits them while they watch soccer matches," the farmer said.