It was time. Finally, the boy came face-to-face with his idol.
He was no ordinary boy. This boy had become an internet sensation back in January when photographs of him wearing a homemade replica of Lionel Messi’s famous football jersey emerged. This cute little boy was attired in a blue-and-white striped plastic bag, resembling the Argentine national team jersey. On the back, he had written the name “Messi” along with the number “10”.
The pictures surfaced on the internet and immediately went viral. The boy was identified as Murtaza Ahmadi, a six-year-old, who lives in Afghanistan’s eastern Ghazni province.
Efforts were in progress to make this fan meet his idol, Messi. It has finally become a reality. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR arranged for the meeting of the Barcelona superstar with the little fan.
The organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar posted a video of the meeting on their Twitter account on Tuesday. In the video, Messi scooped up his little fan and posed for the photographers to capture the sublime moment. The meeting took place in Doha and on Tuesday night, Murtaza accompanied Messi as he walked on to the pitch when Barcelona played Al Ahli.
Murtaza also had the honour of bringing the match ball out onto the pitch before the kick-off. However, he chose to steal another impromptu meeting with his star. As soon as he placed the ball, he ignored the referee’s attempts of escorting him out of the pitch and sprinted towards Messi as Luis Suarez broke into fits of laughter. Messi was seen giggling as well on the little boy’s antics.
However, the once-in-a-lifetime experience was cut short as Murtaza was picked up by the referee and carried off the pitch.
Murtaza’s sudden rise to fame has not exactly been entirely welcome. The family started receiving constant threats over the telephone and were eventually forced to leave their home in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. They currently reside in Quetta in Pakistan. The family feared for their little son’s safety.
Nonetheless, all these threats matter little to Murtaza. He has lived the dream of millions. He has met his idol, Lionel Messi.