Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo might attend an Indonesian wedding soon, according to someone who holds special significance to the Juventus forward.
That someone is famed Aceh tsunami survivor Martunis, who proposed to his girlfriend, Sri Wahyuni, just two days before 2019 came to an end. When he went live on Instagram recently, the 22-year-old was asked by his friend if his idol, Ronaldo, would come to his wedding.
Though it appears Martunis is already drawing up a tentative guest list, he has not yet announced a date for the wedding. We imagine he’d have to put Ronaldo’s extremely packed schedule in mind if he wants the VVIP guest at the wedding.
Martunis have actually met with Ronaldo on numerous occasions, with the latter reportedly taking on the role of an occasional mentor for the Aceh native. The last time Martunis met with Ronaldo was in Turin, Italy back in August, where the forward is currently based. They met during a publicity event for Singaporean marketplace Shopee, after the Juventus player was brought on as the e-commerce giant’s brand ambassador.
(We’d also like to take this opportunity to include Ronaldo’s hilarious Baby Shark-inspired ad for “shupee” just for kicks:)
Just like his role model, Martunis once aspired to become a soccer player himself. In 2015, Martunis followed Ronaldo’s footsteps and joined the youth academy of Sporting Lisbon, one of Portugal’s greatest soccer clubs, by invitation. But, in what is a testament to just how competitive top level soccer can be, Martunis came back to his home province of Aceh in 2017, seemingly to try his hand in law enforcement.
At that time, he was predicted to play for Bhayangkara FC should he get accepted in the police academy, as the club is majority-owned by Polri (National Police).
Today, it appears that Martunis is neither a police officer nor playing soccer professionally, but instead is trying his luck as a social media celebrity. Most of the videos on his Youtube channel are dedicated to Ronaldo and his life story, especially how he first gained international fame due to his unlikely tale of survival.
On December 26, 2004, Martunis lost his mother and two siblings in Aceh during the catastrophic Boxing Day tsunami that killed over 230,000 people. Martunis was only seven at the time, and he survived for 21 days stranded on a beach all by himself. When he was found, he was wearing the Portuguese national football team jersey.
When asked how he had managed to survive, Martunis said: “I was not afraid at all because I wanted to be alive to meet my family and become a football player.”
His story moved the people of Portugal, leading to an outpouring of support. The Portuguese Football Federation even donated the money to pay for the rebuilding of Martunis’ house.
Then, in 2005, Cristiano Ronaldo himself visited Martunis in Aceh and promised to pay for his education. Ronaldo also invited Martunis to visit Sporting Lisbon’s grounds.
Few expected him to actually join Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy. Doubts began to emerge about his talents on the pitch, as it was revealed that he didn’t even make the cut to join Indonesia’s U-17 squad, raising questions about his ability to play at a higher level in Portugal.