More than 10 years after being stranded in the wake of a tsunami for 21 days, the Indonesian boy who inspired Portugal is coming to the country to play soccer.
Martunis was seven years old in Banda Aceh, Indonesia when the devastating Boxing Day tsunami made landfall on December 26th, 2004 and killed over 230,000 people. For 21 days, Martunis survived floating on a mattress and various debris, eating dried noodles to stay alive.
His mother and his two siblings died in the disaster.
His story quickly spread to the Portuguese press, and support came pouring in. The Portuguese Football Association even coughed up some money to help rebuild his home. And then he got to meet his hero, Cristiano Ronaldo...
"I believe that many adults would not even be able to deal with what he has gone through," Ronaldo said at the time. "We must respect him. His was an act of strength and maturity. He's a special kid."
Now, years later, Martunis is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional soccer player. It was announced this month that Sporting Portugal's U-19 team will be adding him to their roster. He will attend the same academy that his hero, Cristiano Ronaldo, trained at before moving onto Manchester United and then Real Madrid.