He came to Quetta a few days ago where he is living with his father. Reports said he is residing in Hazara Town and arrived in Pakistan from Afghanistan for a better livelihood.
His elder brother Homayoun, 15, made him the blue-and-white-striped plastic shirt with Messi’s named scrawled in marker pen and posted the photos of Murtaza wearing it on Facebook in mid-January.
Murtaza’s father, a poor farmer in Ghazni’s Jaghori district, admitted he could not afford to buy him a replica jersey, adding that Murtaza only had a punctured ball to play with.
Photos of the boy wearing the improvised Messi jersey — made from grocery bags discarded by their neighbour — has touched a chord with football fans around the world.
Jorge Messi, Lionel’s father, had told a wire service that the footballer was aware of the photos that made waves on social media and “wants to do something” for his young fan.
The Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) said Messi was keen to meet Murtaza as soon as possible, though no date or venue has so far been finalised.
“Messi has been in communication with the federation to set up a meeting with the young boy,” AFF spokesman Sayed Ali Kazemi said.
“We are working to see whether Messi will come to Afghanistan or the five-year-old will travel to Spain or they will meet in a third country.”