Afghan Boy’s Dreams Come True


By Katherine Kim

Murtaza Ahmadi, five-year-old Lionel Messi fan, received two soccer jerseys and a soccer ball signed by Messi himself. Murtaza is a diehard Messi fan and has gained a lot of attention on the internet after a picture of him wearing a plastic bag as a soccer jersey went viral. According to his father, Murtaza begged for a jersey and would not stop crying, so Murtaza’s brother, Hamayon Ahmadi, found a blue striped plastic bag and transformed it into a Messi jersey. Murtaza immediately stopped crying and wore that plastic bag proudly.

“It’s really nice seeing soccer players make a difference and encourage kids all over the world. I think they have a huge impact on their fans so it’s great to see them take advantage of that impact and provide things for kids,” said freshman and soccer player, Lynne Kim.

The Ahmadi family lives in a poor village in Afghanistan far away from the city, making it impossible for Murtaza’s father to get a real jersey. UNICEF encountered the photo of Murtaza wearing the “jersey” on the internet and immediately took action. They contacted Messi and got him to sign items to give to Murtaza. Messi’s charitable foundation is also trying to set up a meeting between the soccer star and Murtaza. The Ahmadi family was overjoyed that Murtaza finally received the jersey he had been dreaming about and hope that a soccer field will open in their community.

“I love Messi, and this shirt says Messi loves me,” is what Murtaza told UNICEF in response to receiving the jersey.