Against a desolate backdrop, a young boy beams into the camera. Like most children around the world, he wears his favorite soccer player’s jersey – although his is made from a plastic bag. Little does he know that, months from now, his wildest dreams will come true in the most heart-warming way.
In January 2016, five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi was living in the Jaghori District of Ghazni, a province of Afghanistan. A huge soccer fan, he enjoyed watching his favorite players on his family’s solar-powered TV.
But there was one player in particular that Murtaza loved above all others. That player is Lionel Messi, the Argentine star who plays for both FC Barcelona and Argentina’s national team. To the young Afghan boy, Messi was a living, breathing hero.