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YOU may remember the heartwarming story of the the young afghan boy that met his hero Lionel Messi after he wore a plastic bag with his nаme on it.
But you might not know how the incident lead to threats from the Taliban, kidnapping attempts and him being sent to live with his uncle for feаr of his life
Murtaza ahmadi went viral in 2016 for wearing a plastic bag with Lionel Messi’s nаme on itcredit: YouTube / B/R Football
Murtaza met Lionel Messi in Doha in December 2016 after being flown out by Qatar World cup officialscredit: aFp – GettyMurtaza ahmadi shot to fаme in January 2016, when at the age of five, he was pictured with a blue and white binbag with ‘Messi 10’ scrawled across it.
His older brother Hamayoun uploaded the picture on Facebook, with the post quickly going viral, where it caught the attention of the Barcelona star.
Messi then gifted the child a signed argentina shirt with his nаme on as well as a football, but his kind gesture lead to hostility from ahmadi’s neighbours in Jaghori.
The fairytale soon turned into a nightmare, as people suspected that just because Messi had been in touch, the family must have received money from the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Murtaza’s father arif told Bleacher Report: “When i first saw the boxes i thought one would have toys for Murtaza and the other dollars, but no, a ball and a shirt.”
Before adding: “people started asking us if Messi had given us money.
“There were people who would walk around our house during the night. i was very disturbed.”
A letter from the Taliban was then sent to their home, where they threatened to kidnаp the family, resulting in the admadi’s filing an asylum request, which was denied.
Murtaza and his family were then invited by Qatar World cup officials to meet Messi in Doha in December 2016 before Barcelona’s friendly against al ahli.
Arif agreed to the meeting in the hope that the footballer could help Murtaza seek asylum in the same way cristiano Ronaldo helped syrian refugee Zaid abdul.
He stated: “We thought that by going to Doha to meet Messi, maybe he’d be like Ronaldo.
“We went to Qatar so that Messi could do something for him, but he unfortunately did nothing for Murtaza.”
Murtaza left Qatar after achieving his dream of meeting his idol, but once again the family were targeted upon their return in afghanistan.
The youngster explained: “When i arrived, they said, ‘You have so much money with you, from Messi.’”
His family were then issued more threats where they claimed they would capture the boy and hold him for ransom.
After his parents stopped him from going to school as he was repeatedly singled out, Murtaza was sent to live 170 miles away in Kabul with his uncle in the hope he would be safer.