Five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi went viral earlier this year after a picture emerged of the youngster wearing a makeshift Argentina shirt - with the name of his hero, Lionel Messi, on the back of it - made out of plastic bags.
And now little Murtaza has landed his hands on a real Argentina shirt with ‘Messi 10’ on the back. Furthermore, the replica jersey has been signed by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner himself.
The young lad looks proud as punch, posing in his new signed shirt, and who can blame him?
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“Murtaza realized one of his biggest dreams today!” a statement on Unicef Afghanistan’s Facebook page read. “He received team jerseys and an autographed football with a personal message from UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Leo Messi.
“The right to play and practice sports promotes the well-being of all children, especially the most vulnerable trapped in emergencies around the world.”
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Murtaza: Messi loves me
Meanwhile, Murtaza gave a lovely quote which will tug on the heartstrings of, well, everybody.
“I love Messi and my shirt says Messi loves me," he told Unicef Afghanistan.
Murtaza’s father reveals story behind plastic bag shirt
Murtaza’s father, Arif Ahmadi, told CNN earlier this year that his son’s brother made the shirt after the youngster wouldn’t stop crying.
"When he suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night, he starts crying that he wants to go to Messi," Arif explained. "I told him that we were living in a poor village far from the city and it was impossible for me to get him the shirt.
"He kept crying for days asking for the shirt until his brother Hamayon helped him make one from the plastic bag to make him happy.
"He stopped crying after wearing that plastic bag shirt.”
Murtaza wants to follow in Messi's footsteps
After the original photo of Murtaza emerged online, the internet united to try and identify and then find the boy.
And both the lad and his father loved their new-found fame after being located in Afghanistan.
"I feel very happy that he is famous now," Ahmadi said at the time. "He is really excited that his pictures are everywhere now. He wants to become a football player in the future and go to school."
Murtaza, one suspects, will be the talk of the town for some time yet after landing the Messi shirt which he’ll treasure forever.
It would fetch a fortune on eBay, but this is a shirt that money can’t buy.
Is this the feel-good story of 2016? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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