Sporting Lisbon sign Tsunami survivor Martunis 11 years after he spent three weeks stranded in Indonesia to follow in steps of Cristiano Ronaldo

Martunis spent 21 days on a swampy area of a beach before being found wearing a Portugal shirt by journalists

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The Independent Football

Sporting Lisbon have announced the signing of 17-year-old Indonesian player Martunis. While that sounds normal in the football world, his life story is anything but, having survived the devastating 2004 Tsunami.

Over 230,000 people were killed across 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean when a major earthquake triggered a Tsunami on Boxing Day 11 years ago. Measuring at a magnitude of 9.3 on the Richter scale, waves of up to 30 meters high destroyed towns and villages spread across the Far East in what was one of the deadliest natural disasters ever seen.

One of those hit by the Tsunami was Martunis, then just six years old. The young boy was found stranded on a swampy area of a beach, starving, 21 days after the Tsunami hit Aceh in Indonesia. But miraculously, he was alive.


Over 170,000 people were killed in Aceh which included Matunis’ mother and two sisters, yet he was one of the lucky ones. He was found three weeks after the tragedy, and could be seen wearing a number 10 Portugal shirt – a replica of Rui Costa’s – when he was interview by stunned journalists.

Martunis met with Ronaldo again two years ago

On Wednesday, Martunis was unveiled as the newest Sporting Lisbon player, a club that has produced the likes of Luis Figo and his very own hero, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid superstar had the pleasure of meeting Martunis after the disaster, and the Portuguese footballer admitted he “I believed that many adults would not even be able to deal with what he has gone through”.

Ronaldo added: “We must respect him. His was an act of strength and maturity. He's a special kid.”

At his presentation yesterday, Martunis said: “It's great to be here, this club makes my dream possible.

“I am incredibly excited about this opportunity. Viva Sporting!”

Martunis meets Cristiano Ronaldo after surviving the Tsunami

Martinus is presented as a Sporting Lisbon player

The club’s president Bruno de Carvalho added: “Martunis will work at the academy. We will work with him also in his development as a human being and as a man.”