February 1, 2016 1:01 pm

Young Afghan boy with Messi jersey made of plastic bag will meet his idol

A photo of five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi wearing a plastic bag jersey with Lionel Messi's number went viral, grabbing the attention of the star forward for Barcelona.

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One little boy’s dream of meeting his favourite soccer player is about to come true.

Photos of five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi wearing a homemade Lionel Messi “jersey” went viral after they were posted to Facebook late last month.

The jersey, made from a striped plastic bag with Messi’s name and number written in with marker, was made by Murtaza’s older brother.

Murtaza’s father, Arif Ahmadi, said his son is obsessed with the star player.

“When he wakes up at night, he says Messi’s name,” Ahmadi told Radio Free Europe. “He says he wants to see Messi.”

“He asked me to find a real shirt for him with Messi’s name on it. I said how should I bring such shirt for you?”

The family lives in war-torn Ghanzi, about 150 kilometres south of Kabul, and the only soccer ball he has to play with is punctured. Ahmadi told AFP he doesn’t have the means to get Murtaza an official jersey or a new ball.

But it seems that will soon change, thanks to the thousands of people who have shared the story.

“We did not expect that we would get this kind of support from everyone. People from all over the world have been calling me to help get Murtaza a jersey and a football,” Ahmadi told Al Jazeera on Monday.

The Afganistan Football Federation said on its website that officials have been in contact with Messi and will arrange a meeting, though there’s no word yet on when the meeting will be.

“[Murtaza] is so excited by the news of meeting Messi. We don’t know when is it going to happen, but we are humbled by the response we got,” Ahmadi said.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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