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The Incredible Story Of How Sporting Lisbon's Latest Signing Survived The Indonesian Tsunami

By Conor O'Leary
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It's not often that we'd bring you news of the latest Sporting Lisbon signing. Even less regular is an academy signing.

But Martinus is no regular academy signing.

When the giant tsunami hit Indonesia on December 26th 2004, Martinus was just home after playing football. He was caught in the way of the devastating waves, and swept away. No one knew where he was.


A full 21 days later, he was found stranded on a beach. He survived by holding onto a sofa. He was alone for 18 days surviving on food that was washed ashore. But there had been no food for three days before he was found on the brink of death.

The tsunami killed 230,000 people, among them Martinus' mother and two sisters.

He appeared on TV screens across the world, still wearing his fake Portugal jersey with Rui Costa on the back that most Irish kids who holidayed in Portugal would have had. He won over the audience, especially the Portguese people, and the national football team. The Portuguese football federation donated €40,000 to build Martinus and his family a new house.


He met his hero Cristanio Ronaldo, as well as others like Sepp Blatter and Rui Costa. He's never hid his appreciation for Portugal, and has said that he wants to repay the Portuguese football federation by playing for them.

That dream is one step closer to reality, as yesterday Martinus was unveiled as Sporting's latest academy recruit. The 17-year-old will play with the club's U19 team.

See Also: The Incredible Story Of The Only Professional Sportsman With Cystic Fibrosis
See Also: The Emotional Story Of Dessie Fitzgerald Highlights All That's Good About GAA

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