Afghan Boy Who Went Viral for Plastic Bag Messi Jersey Gets the Real Thing

messi shirt afghan boy_0225
Afghan boy Murtaza Ahmadi poses in his new Argentine National Team soccer shirt in Kabul, Afghanistan, on February 25. Murtaza became an Internet hit after photos of him in a Lionel Messi jersey made from a plastic bag went viral. Messi sent the boy a signed jersey. Mahdy Mehraeen/UNICEF

An Afghan boy who became a viral sensation for playing soccer in a Lionel Messi jersey crafted from a plastic bag has finally been given the real thing.

Messi himself sent Murtaza Ahmadi, 5, an Argentine National Team jersey on Thursday, along with a jersey for his other team, FC Barcelona, and a soccer ball. Messi signed all the items.

Murtaza, who is from the Jaghori District in Ghazni, a province in eastern Afghanistan, was seen in photos and a video published last month wearing his plastic bag jersey and kicking a blue and yellow ball around. Messi's number, 10, and his last name were penned on the jersey. The photographs of Murtaza soon went viral as people attempted to track him down.

"I love Messi, and my shirt says Messi loves me," UNICEF Afghanistan quoted Murtaza as saying on Thursday.

afghan boy lionel messi jersey_0225_2
Murtaza poses in his signed jersey. Mahdy Mehraeen/UNICEF

In the original video, Murtaza's father, Arif, says his son "says Messi's name daily" and asked him to find a real shirt with Messi's name on it. While there were tentative plans by the Afghan Football Federation to get Murtaza to meet his idol, no date or time has been set.

afghan boy messi jersey_0225_03
Murtaza aims for a perfect shot in his new Messi jersey. Mahdy Mehraeen/UNICEF

Earlier this year, Messi won his fifth FIFA Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) award, an annual prize given to the best male soccer player. He is generally considered one of the top soccer players in history, and in 2015 he scored a goal every 101 minutes, according to the BBC.