Mystery of boy seen in Messi plastic bag jersey solved


The identity of a young boy seen wearing a Lionel Messi jersey made out of a blue-striped plastic bag has been revealed.

BBC Trending reported on Tuesday (Jan 26) that the boy is five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi from a rural area in Afghanistan; a Twitter user had claimed earlier that the boy was from Dohuk, Iraq.

Mr Azim Ahmadi, an Afghan living in Australia, said the boy is his nephew and he was the one who posted the photos on Facebook.

Photos of the boy in a "Messi 10" Argentina national team jersey made out of a plastic bag went viral on social media earlier this month, sparking a search for the young fan of the popular football player.

When contacted in Afghanistan, Murtaza's father Arif also confirmed that it was his son in the pictures.

Mr Arif said the original photo of Murtaza wearing the plastic shirt was taken by his oldest son Hamayon, who then posted them on his Facebook page.

He said that Murtaza really loves Messi and football.

"It is not possible for us to buy (a jersey) for him. Because I am a simple farmer. So the kids decided to use the plastic."

Murtaza knows that he is famous now and "he is extremely happy", Mr Arif said.

"I heard from friends who have Internet. They called and told us about it", he added.

He said Murtaza is "hoping that foreign countries help us meet Messi".

The search for the boy's identity did not come easily.

A social media user has admitted that he made up the boy's location, saying that he just wanted to give the Iraqi town some "slight recognition", as it was where his parents grew up.

BBC Trending found out that Murtaza's uncle had contacted the user to tell him that his nephew was the real boy in the photos.

Another rumour that Messi, who plays for Barcelona, wants to send a shirt to the boy also turned out to be unconfirmed.

The rumour started when a Messi fan account tweeted: "We got DM from Leo's team. They want to know who this kid is so that Leo can arrange something for him. RT & spread."

However, this is yet to be publicly confirmed by the footballer himself.