Martunis was playing soccer on a beach when a deadly tsunami struck the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia in 2004.
Over 200,000 people were killed, including Martunis’s mother and his two brothers, in a catastrophic event that spanned 14 countries from the 9.1 magnitude earthquake.
The tsunami stranded Martunis, 7, at the time on a beach for three weeks. He survived drinking water out of muddy puddles and eating noodles when available. When Martunis was found—he was wearing his favorite red Portugal soccer shirt, torn and hanging off his frame.
They called him the “miracle child.”
The news of his story quickly spread to Portugal. It inspired the Portuguese FA to rebuild Martunis’s house, and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo also stepped in and promised to pay for the child’s education, according to ESPN.
“I believe that many adults would not even be able to deal with what he has gone through,” Ronaldo told the press at the time of the rescue.
Even after the trauma, Martunis was not frightened. He knew there was a higher purpose for his life.
“I was not afraid at all because I wanted to be alive to meet my family and become a football player,” he told reporters after his 21-day ordeal.
Now the 17-year-old will see his dream becchildome a reality as Lischildbon signed the player to the Sporting Lisbon's academy where his idol Ronaldo trained as a youth.
“It's great to be here, this club makes my dream possible,” said Martunis, who could play for the Under 19s.
Sporting president said they would work on the teen’s talent and “also in his development as a human being and as a man,” The Guardian reported.