February 1, 2016 / 1:56 PM / 3 years ago

Messi to meet young Afghan famed for shirt made from plastic bag

KABUL (Reuters) - Barcelona star Lionel Messi will meet an Afghan boy who gained Internet fame after a touching series of photographs went viral, showing him playing in a shirt improvised from a plastic bag and bearing the name and playing number of his hero.

Five year-old Murtaza, from a poor family in the Jaghori district in the central province of Ghazni, became an unlikely Internet sensation after the pictures were shared on Facebook and other social media sites.

Unable to get a real Messi shirt, Murtaza’s brother had rigged him up a plastic bag in the light blue and white colors of the Argentinian national team, with “Messi” and the number “10” written on it in marker pen.

The pictures were shared around the world and the Afghan Football Federation said on its website on Monday it was in contact with representatives of Messi and would arrange for Murtaza to meet the player soon.

Last month, Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player for the fifth time.

Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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