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Boy wearing Lionel Messi shirt made of plastic bag found in Afghanistan

Ed Ran
8.41K   //    26 Jan 2016, 22:27 IST
Lionel Messi jersey plastic bag
Murtaza Ahmadi – the little Lionel Messi fan who the internet has been searching for (Image courtesy Arif Ahmadi)

Almost everyone who saw the picture of the little boy wearing a Lionel Messi ‘jersey’ made out of a plastic bag couldn’t help but smile. The photo was widely circulated on social media across numerous platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with a plea from Messi’s team to find him. And it appears he has been finally been found.

Earlier, it had been reported that the boy was from Dohuk in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. But that story has since been proved to be incorrect. Many perceived him to be a boy from “war-torn Iraq” after a tweet claimed that was where it was taken but the person who tweeted that information has since come out and said he wasn’t serious when he mentioned the location.

According to BBC, he is actually a five-year-old boy who lives in a rural area in Afghanistan called Jaghori District. His name is Murtaza Ahmadi.

Messi’s ‘biggest fan’

Soon after the photo went viral on the internet, it was picked up by Azim Ahmadi, an Afghan currently residing in Australia. He claimed the boy was his nephew and even sent them his brother’s Afghanistan phone number and BBC confirmed he was indeed the same boy.

Murtaza’s father, Arif Ahmadi, revealed that it was his eldest son Hamayon who clicked the now-viral photo and posted it on Facebook. 

“This little kid really loves Messi and football,” Arif said.

“It is not possible for us to buy [a jersey] for him. Because I am a simple farmer. So the kids decided to use the plastic.”

kid boy plastic baj 10 Lionel Messi Argentina jersey
Murtaza Ahmadi lives in Afghanistan

Murtaza has since been informed that he is now world-famous and Arif says he is over the moon.

“He heard from friends who have internet. They called and told us about it. My younger son is also hoping that foreign countries help us meet Messi and if we could be good football players like him in the future.”

While it may be tough to meet him in person, here’s hoping that Messi is told about this little kid half a world away and he sends him one of his actual shirts, just so we can see that smile widen a little bit more.

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Ed Ran
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