A young Afghan boy’s dream of meeting superstar Lionel Messi has been crushed after it emerged a trip to visit the footballer in Barcelona will not go ahead.

Murtaza Ahmadi, 5, endeared himself to millions when he was pictured playing football in his home village in a homemade Messi kit made out of a filthy old plastic bag.

After the photographs emerged, the youngster’s family believed his idol – via the Leo Messi Foundation and Afghanistan Football Federation – was planning to fly him to Barcelona.

But his hopes have now been dashed – MailOnline has learned the meeting will not go ahead.

A source from the Leo Messi Foundation said:

‘The meeting is not taking place. We get thousands of requests from children all over the world and the truth is that we cannot cover them all. We’d like to but it’s impossible.’

When asked to elaborate, they said ‘many bad and ugly situations’ prevented the meeting, but would not explain in further detail.

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