Nearly 10 months ago, a six-year-old boy from Afghanistan, Murtuza Ahmadi, won the hearts of millions, including Lionel Messi, after his brother Humayun Ahmadi uploaded a picture of his little brother in a plastic Messi shirt online.
Murtuza’s story soon reached the Afghan Football federation and UNICEF who sent a Messi jersey signed by the soccer star to the boy then living in the war-torn country.
PHOTOS: Young Afghan boy Murtaza Ahmadi with a signed Messi Argentina shirt [unicef, cnn] pic.twitter.com/tEB79o2NZJ— FC Barcelona Fl (@FCBarcelonaFl) February 25, 2016
Later, efforts were made to help Ahmadi meet the Barcelona star.
“I really like Messi, I wish I can meet him,” Ahmadi said in May and nearly seven months later, his biggest wish came true in Doha, Qatar, where he personally met his hero.
The organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar tweeted a video of the Barcelona forward who was all smiles while taking photographs with the adorable boy.
Video of the day: When 6 year old Murtaza Ahmadi finally met his idol Lionel Messi and didn't want to leave him ?? pic.twitter.com/3qIHcJNBdh— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) December 14, 2016
Ahmadi also posed with the Barcelona team that was there to play a friendly match against Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli SC.
Ahmadi was so mesmerized, he just wouldn’t let go of his idol even after the referees asked him to leave the pitch.
When you meet your idol:— BigSport (@BigSportGB) December 13, 2016
Young mascot won't leave Lionel Messi's side. Can't blame him...
Although heartwarming, Ahmadi’s fame has come at a price. Earlier, he received death threats in Afghanistan and had to be move to neighboring country, Pakistan, for safety.