Murtaza Ahmadi messi
Five year-old Murtaza Ahmadi, an Afghan Lionel Messi fan, wears a shirt signed by Barcelona star Lionel Messi, as he plays football at the open area in Kabul, Feb. 26, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

It was a dream come true for 6-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi when he met his hero and Barcelona star Lionel Messi on Tuesday, months after pictures of the Afghan boy wearing a homemade shirt bearing Messi’s No. 10 jersey went viral online.

Pictures of Ahmadi sporting an improvised Lionel Messi shirt made out of plastic were shared across social media in January this year, prompting the Argentine soccer player to send the boy a signed shirt. As Barcelona played a friendly match against Saudi Arabian Al Ahli in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday evening, Ahmadi got a chance to finally meet his idol.

“I’m very happy to have met my hero. It is a dream for me,” Ahmadi said, after his meeting with the four-time Ballon d'Or winner, according to Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) website. “I can’t wait to see Messi at the game, it will be the first time for me in the stadium.”

Ahmadi was also one of the player escorts and walked out on the pitch alongside Messi, following which he was given the honor of bringing the match ball out onto the pitch before the match. The clearly starstruck child placed the ball on the center circle and ignored the referee’s attempts to escort him for the pitch, only to run toward Messi, who was on the side of the semi-circle.

After a number of false claims over the identity of the child in the viral pictures, Ahmadi was finally identified after his uncle, Australia-based Azim Ahmadi, found the connection and put media in touch with his brother and Ahmadi’s father, Arif.

Murtaza Ahmadi comes from the Jaghori District in the eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan, but was forced to flee the country in May after continuous threats of abduction by extremists after he became an online sensation.

The child and his family now live in Quetta, Pakistan.