Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are widely regarded as two of the greatest footballers of all time, and their salaries have reflected this over the years. However, the couple would want to have a part of midfielder Faiq Bolkiah’s fortune.
The 24-year-old is the world’s richest footballer, with a net worth of $20 billion (£16 billion), far more than Messi ($600 million) and Ronaldo ($490 million). Bolkiah is the nephew of Brunei’s Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, and was born into a very rich family.
Despite this, the California native has been determined to build a career in football. Bolkiah was a gifted young athlete who was consistently overlooked by academics.
He played at Southampton and Chelsea before being given a chance at Leicester City. The midfielder spent four years at the club but never made it into the first squad, despite being given a contract extension that led many to assume he was on the verge of a breakthrough.
Bolkiah then decided to leave England for Portugal, believing that he would be given more regular play at Martimo in the Primeira Liga. However, he only made three senior appearances for their B team during his career, prompting the player to leave after a year.
“I had maybe three or four offers after Leicester,” Bolkiah admitted to Mainstand about the unsuccessful move. Maritimo told to me ‘you’ll come here, you’ll play’ so I answered ‘I simply want to be here for a year. The most important thing for me is that I want to play.’ Obviously, this did not occur.
“I really regret relocating there. I believe there was a lot of politics involved in why Maritimo wanted me. They didn’t seem completely honest to me. It undoubtedly made me stronger.
“It really made me work harder and concentrate more. That, for sure, did not change. But I made the correct decision to leave. My contract there have two years left on it. They had changed presidents at the time, so I walked in and explained my predicament. It would have done neither me nor the club any favor for me to stay any longer.”
Bolkiah is presently enjoying his football in Thai club Chonburi, becoming the country’s first Bruneian player to do so. The No. 11 isn’t paid the most at the club, but he’ll be relieved to know he’ll have his family’s fortune to fall back on after retirement.