A boy aged just three was kidnapped by ISIS who held him captive for two years because his father had named him Messi after his footballer hero, it has emerged.
The Kurdish Yazidi child, now five, was seized by the terror group along with his mother and sister from their home in Sinjar, northern Iraq in 2014.
While in captivity, ISIS extremists targeted the family with ransom demands – even though they had no money.
Messi has since been rescued and is living at a refugee camp in Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan.
His father told Kurdistan 24 that enraged fanatics had ordered his wife to change Messi’s ‘infidel’ name to Hassan.
The trauma of years in captivity has taken its toll on the youngster, who reportedly barely speaks and now brandishes a toy gun where once he preferred playing football.
Iraqi News reports that he shakes his head when referred to as Messi – apparently still afraid of reprisals from the militants who despised the famous name of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Thousands of Yazidi women and children were captured and enslaved by ISIS when the militant Islamist terrorists attacked Sinjar in August 2014.
While nearly 3,000 are believed to have been rescued, many more are thought to remain in captivity.
Hundreds more civilians were subjected to forced conversions or slaughtered as the fanatics stormed through the area.
Last year an Afghan boy who charmed the world with his Lionel Messi carrier bag football shirt got to meet his hero.
The Barcelona star carried six-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi in his arms at a specially arranged meeting in Doha, Qatar.
Murtaza was pictured in January last year wearing a shopping bag with Argentina’s blue and white stripes along with Messi’s name and No 10 on the back, written in black marker pen.
The child eventually received a signed shirt from the prolific forward.
But the youngster’s dream of actually meeting the star came true when the pair came face-to-face in December.