Football

Lionel Messi's biggest fan?

Updated 1833 GMT (0233 HKT) May 3, 2016
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Murtaza Ahmadi, 5, gained worldwide fame after being photographed wearing a plastic bag with Lionel Messi's name on it. He and his family have fled rural Afghanistan for Pakistan after receiving threats, his father told CNN. CNN
Murtaza wears the autographed Lionel Messi Argentina shirt given to him by the soccer superstar and UNICEF. He had been pictured in his native Afghanistan wearing a striped plastic bag with the star's name and number written on it to replicate a shirt. UNICEF
UNICEF Afghanistan representative Akhil Iyer presents the thrilled Murtaza with his gifts from Messi, the Argentine star who plays for Barcelona. Mahdy Mehraeen
Murtaza dribbles as a UNICEF staffer takes on the role of goalkeeper. Mahdy Mehraeen
Murtaza points proudly to the dedication and autograph from Messi, who scored twice for Barcelona in their Champions League win over Arsenal in London. Mahdy Mehraeen
Murtaza emulates his hero as he scores a goal wearing the Argentina captain's shirt. Mahdy Mehraeen
Murtaza shows off his skills with his Messi-autographed football. Mahdy Mehraeen
Murtaza holds the plastic bag that made him famous. His father, Muhammad Arif Ahmadi, told CNN the five-year-old's brother made it for him when he wouldn't stop crying. "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 said. Hamayon Ahmadi
"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," Ahmadi said. "He stopped crying after wearing that plastic bag shirt." Hamayon Ahmadi
The Ahmadis lived in Jaghori, southwest of Kabul in Afghanistan. Murtaza wants to be a footballer when he grows up. Hamayon Ahmadi
The original image, posted to Twitter in mid-January, showed Murtaza from behind. Internet users shared the picture in a bid to discover his identity. Hamayon Ahmadi
Messi, considered by many the best soccer player in the world, playing for Argentina in a recent game against Paraguay. YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images