Tsunami miracle boy found wearing Portugal jersey joins Sporting Lisbon
Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon have just unveiled a new player in their academy.
And the story of Martunis will melt your heart.
Eleven years ago, a severely dehydrated Martunis, about seven at the time, was found stranded on a beach.
He had been swept away when the Boxing Day tsunami, which claimed more than 230,000 lives in 14 countries, devastated Aceh, Indonesia.
But he managed to survive.
For about three weeks he was on his own and ate instant noodles that he found and drank water from puddles.
Brink of death
When discovered by journalists, he was on the brink of death — and wearing a No 10 Portugal national team jersey bearing the name of Portuguese legend Rui Costa.
The image and story of the miracle boy immediately made headlines around the world, and touched the Portuguese football community deeply.
So the Portuguese FA, helped by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s fund-raising efforts, rebuilt his home.
Martunis’ mother and two brothers perished in the disaster, but he was reunited with his father Sarbini.
Ronaldo was so moved that he also met the boy a few times, most recently in 2013.
Martunis, whose ambition is to become a professional footballer, now has a chance to follow in the footsteps of his Portuguese idols at Sporting’s famous academy, where players such as Ronaldo himself, Nani and Luis Figo were groomed.
A check on the Internet showed that Martunis used to play as a forward for PSAP Siglis, a second-tier club in Indonesia.
At his presentation in Lisbon, he said: “It’s great to be here, this club makes my dream possible.
“I am incredibly excited about this opportunity. Viva Sporting!”
Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho said: “Martunis will work at the academy. We will work with him also in his development as a human being and as a man.”