A 5-year-old Afghan boy who made a splash on the Internet by wearing a Lionel Messi jersey made from a plastic bag might get the chance to meet the Argentine superstar who plays for FC Barcelona of Spain.

Share story

Soccer

Boy, 5, might meet idol Messi

A 5-year-old Afghan boy who made a splash on the Internet by wearing a homemade Lionel Messi jersey might get the chance to meet the Argentine superstar who plays for FC Barcelona of Spain.

The Afghan Football Federation said it is planning to set up a meeting between Messi and Murtaza Ahmadi, who was pictured wearing an Argentina jersey made from a plastic bag with Messi’s name and No. 10 written in black marker.

Afghan federation spokesman Sayed Ali Kazemi said Tuesday officials hope Messi, 28, can come to Afghanistan to visit the boy, but otherwise they will arrange to send him to Spain or arrange a meeting in a third country.

Pictures of Murtaza playing soccer near his home in eastern Ghazni province showed him wearing the plastic-bag jersey. He is reportedly a member of a poor family living in the Jaghori district.

Arif Ahmadi, Murtaza’s father, said he and his family have only solar power and the boy has seen Messi on TV.

“He (Murtaza) asked me many times to buy a Messi shirt,” Arif Ahmadi said. “I couldn’t provide for him. Later, his brother made him this plastic shirt and posted his photo on Facebook.”

• Host Leicester beat Liverpool 2-0 to stay atop the English Premier League by three points over Manchester City, a 1-0 winner at Sunderland.

• A former vice president for world soccer’s governing body has been released from U.S. custody in New York and will be subject to house arrest as he awaits trial on bribery and other charges related to a sprawling corruption case.

An attorney for former FIFA official Alfredo Hawit said the 64-year-old Honduras native was released. Records show Hawit posted a $1 million bond package.

Baseball

Dodgers hire Maddux, Ibanez

The Los Angeles Dodgers have hired Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux and former Mariner Raul Ibanez as special assistants to Andrew Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations.

Maddux, 49, and Ibanez, 43, will help Friedman while also working in scouting, player development and interacting with players at the major- and minor-league levels.

• Former Mariners infielder Brendan Ryan, 33, has agreed to a minor-league contact with the Washington Nationals and will report to big-league spring training.

Ryan was with the New York Yankees from September 2013 through last season. He was traded by the Yankees to the Chicago Cubs in December, then was released by the Cubs.

• Outfielder Carlos Quentin, 33, and the Minnesota Twins have agreed to a minor-league contract and he will report to major-league spring training. He has been bothered by knee injuries.

Quentin’s last major-league game was with San Diego in July 2014. He played in five games for the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers last year.

• Outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, 25, has been acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays from the New York Mets for cash.

Ceciliani, a former player for Columbia Basin College in Pasco, had 68 at-bats as a Mets rookie last year and hit .206 with one home run.

ELSEWHERE

• Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart was hospitalized with a back injury and Stewart-Haas Racing officials said they are unsure of the extent of his injuries — a week before he is expected in Daytona Beach, Fla., to prepare for his final season as a driver in the top-level Sprint Cup Series.

Stewart, 44, was injured Sunday during an accident while he was riding an all-terrain vehicle somewhere on the West Coast, SHR spokesman Mike Arning said. Stewart was able to move all extremities.

• American Jim Furyk, who is No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking despite not completing a tournament since Sept. 6, said he will have surgery on his left wrist.

Furyk, 45, estimated he would be out for three months.

If so, he would miss the Masters for the first time since 2004, when he didn’t play because of surgery on his left wrist to repair torn cartilage. The Masters starts April 7 at Augusta National in Georgia.

• WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico will defend his title against Briton Amir Khan, a former world light-welterweight champ who is jumping two weight divisions for the May 7 fight in Las Vegas.

• Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, the first player drafted last year, returned after missing 37 games because of a broken collarbone. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-1 NHL victory over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.