The photo went viral: It showed the then five-year-old Murtasa Ahmadi. The little body was stuck in a blue-and-white striped plastic bag. With a ball-point pen, applied the Name “Messi” and the “10”, number of football Superstars, made from the shopping bag, a Jersey and Murtasa perhaps the proudest boy on the football ground. The improvised Jersey was a gift from his older brother, the family could not afford a real Jersey of the Argentinian national player.

Murtasa Ahmadi met Lionel Messi

in 2016, was the and since then a lot has happened in the life of an Afghan child and his family. After organizers of the 2022 world Cup in Qatar at the photo carefully, they invited the boys to Doha, was allowed a Meeting with his Idol – even on the football field, he will accompany the Vice-world champion in front of a friendly match. (Read more here about the Meeting.) To do this, Murtasa got over the children’s charity Unicef, given two real jerseys of Lionel Messi, and a signed football. A heart’s desire came true. “I’m glad I met my hero. A dream come true,” said Murtasa then.


the photo with The plastic bags-Jersey went in the beginning of 2016 to the world. A year later, Murtasa Ahmadi met his Idol Lionel Messi.

©AFP Nikku / Xinhua / Zuma Press Picture Alliance

But the dream of once threatens to become a curse. Quickly, the mother had to fear for the life of your son, as you reported. The reason for this, of all things, the Meeting of the boy with his model two years ago.

“From the day of the Murtasa became famous, was the life for our family is difficult,” says mother Schafika Ahmadi, the U.S. broadcaster CNN and the news Agency AFP. “Not only the Taliban but also some other groups thought that Messi would have given him possibly a lot of money. We have ceased to send him to school, and we were constantly threatened.”

“I want to get out of this country”

tormented by the thought that the Taliban are looking for may specifically for your little boy. “They said that they would dismember, you should find him,” says Schafika. “It would have been better if Murtasa would not have become famous.”

Between body and attacks

Further deportation flight in Kabul landed: How safe is it in Afghanistan?

By Daniel Wüstenberg

Because it was in their ostafghanischen home province unsafe, fled the family in front of the Taliban in the capital, Kabul. And even there, the fear had given way, reported the mother.

“In Kabul, I can’t go out of the house,” says Murtasa the reporters. “My mother won’t let me out. She’s afraid of. I only play with my girlfriend in the house.” The now seven-year-old Boy has a big goal: “I want to get out of this country, because here is fought. And then I want to be a professional soccer player like Messi and him playing together.”

Lionel Messi gives the young hope. And also the mother Schafika Ahmadi sets in your great desire to the world star of FC Barcelona: “I want Messi helps to free us from Afghanistan, so Murtasa has a better future.”

sources: CNN, news agencies DPA and AFP