When seven year-old Martunis was found on an Indonesian beach after the Indian Ocean tsunami, his world was turned upside down. Being forced to survive on puddle water and stray noodles scattered around from the destruction, Martunis was only days away from losing his life.
Both his mother and two brothers were killed in the tsunami that hit on Boxing Day in 2004. It would be 21 days before the young Indonesian boy would be spotted in a red and green Portugal shirt by a Save the Children worker.
The tragic story of Martunis went viral almost immediately and caught the attention of Cristiano Ronaldo who noticed the boy wearing a Portugal shirt. The inspiring story of surviving the tsunami led him to meet his sporting idol who commented on Martunis by saying, “I believe that many adults would not even be able to deal with what he has gone through. We must respect him. His was an act of strength and maturity. He’s a special kid.”
Ronaldo was right, he is a special kid. One who has a passion for football and development. At one moment his street football game was stopped by the thundering waves of a tsunami, left with nothing at all. Now Martunis is now walking in the footsteps of his idol after signing for Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy at the age of seventeen.
His talents have caught the eyes of Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho and many other members in the academy. It is truly a dream come true for the 17-year-old tsunami survivor who has followed his passion no matter what the obstacle was.
We all wish him the best of luck at his new club.