Boy Who Lost Everything To Tsunami Could Be Football's New Ronaldo

Zohaib Ahmed
Having already beaten the deadly waves of the 2004 tsunami, this boy wonder is set to test himself in the football world.

Most success stories are a culmination of incredible struggles but very few have their roots in a historically devastating natural disaster.

Meet Indonesia's 17-year-old footballer Martunis, who has just turned pro by signing a contract with top Portuguese football club, Sporting Lisbon.


He is a survivor of the 2004 tsunami that claimed 230,000 lives in 14 countries and changed the face of the Earth – both literally and figuratively. Back then he used to live in Aceh, Indonesia, with his mother and two sisters, all of whom succumbed to the merciless waves of water.

When the tsunami hit on that unlucky day of Dec. 26, Martunis' dream of playing professional football took a backseat. For three weeks, his sole desire was to survive long enough so any rescue workers could find him. Help finally arrived on the 21st day and rescuers found him stranded and alone on a swampy beach, wearing a football shirt with the name of Portuguese legend Rui Costa imprinted on his back.

Miracle tsunami survivor Martunis

His miraculous survival story made international news and caught the eye of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was moved by the youngster's spirit as well as his love for football. The Real Madrid superstar is often dinged for being a bit too self-centered but in this case he proved his critics wrong.

He met Martunis several times, paid for his home to be rebuilt and for his upbringing, and might have also recommended him to his former club, Sporting Lisbon.

Tsunami Survivor Martunis

Almost 11 years after tsunami couldn't kill him or his desire to play the Beautiful Game, Martunis has been snapped up by Lisbon and he will be playing for their Under-19 side from this coming season.

It's not easy to make it as a professional footballer, but with Martunis' fighting spirit and determination in the face of adversity, he has as good a chance as anyone to emulate his idol.