The next Cristiano Ronaldo? Indonesian Tsunami survivor joins Sporting Lisbon

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This is one of those stories that makes you smile as you read along.

On Friday it was announced that Sporting Lisbon had signed 17-year-old Martunis as a trainee.

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Martunis is a native of Indonesia and survived the devastating earthquake-tsunami of 2004 which killed over 230,000 people.

His mother and two brothers died in the tragedy and Martunis was discovered alone two weeks later. He had been drinking dirty water from a puddle and surviving on handouts of noodles. All he had was a Portuguese national team jersey on his back. That was it.

Those photos of a young Indonesian child struggling to survive in the aftermath of the Tsunami pulled at the heartstrings of a nation. Over $44,000 was donated to Martunis’ family by the Portuguese public after he was spotted wearing their shirt and he has since met Portuguese legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Eusebio as his incredible story of survival has inspired millions around the world.

Now, he will be wearing a jersey with green and white hoops and lining up for Sporting Lisbon’s U-19 side next season as Martunis has the chance to emulate his hero Cristiano and make it through Sporting’s academy.

Speaking about his opportunity to play for the Portuguese giants, Martunis is looking forward to the opportunity.

“It’s great to be here, this club makes my dream possible. I am incredibly excited about this opportunity. Viva Sporting!”