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Who is the Richest Football Player in the World? Faiq Bolkiah

When you think of the richest football player in the world, the names that typically come to mind are some of the world’s biggest stars. You’d first think of players like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Neymar, and Lionel Messi. Players who are renowned for their ability as well as for their astronomical earnings from football and endorsements. However, surpassing them in terms of sheer wealth is Faiq Bolkiah, a name that might not resonate as loudly in the football world but whose financial status is unthinkable in the sport.

Early Life and Royal Heritage

Faiq Bolkiah’s backstory is as intriguing as it is unique. He was born on May 9, 1998, in Los Angeles, California, and holds both Bruneian and American citizenship, but moved to England at a young age for education.

“Me and my family didn’t spend that much time there. I forgot how long but it wasn’t more than a year. We resulted in growing up in England. I think at the time, on my parents’ side, it was for the education.” 

Faiq Bolkiah on his childhood.

But Bolkiah is not your typical professional football player. He is the nephew of Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest monarchs in the world. His father, Prince Jefri, holds the not-so-prestigious label of The Prince Who Blew Through Billions. Faiq’s immense wealth comes not from football but from being a member of Brunei’s royal family, which has an estimated net worth of billions of dollars, largely due to the country’s oil wealth.

Richest Football Player Faiq Bolkiah

Football Career

Faiq Bolkiah’s journey in football began at a young age. He spent his early years in Berkshire, England, while studying at Bradfield College, formally St. Andrew’s College. It was in England that his passion for the game grew. He joined the youth teams at AFC Newbury and developed to a decent level. His talent and, more probably, royal background caught the attention of several Premier League clubs and their academies. Bolkiah had stints with the Southampton, Arsenal, and Chelsea youth teams. During his time with Arsenal, Bolkiah competed in the 2013 Lion City Cup against Corinthians, Eintracht Frankfurt, PSV Eindhoven, and a Singapore youth selection.

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He then went on to sign a professional deal with Leicester City in 2016 after his two-year scholarship at Chelsea had expired. There was not much fanfare upon his arrival. But the signing was due in large part to Leicester’s owners. The club’s owners, the Srivaddhanaprabha family, were close friends of the Bolkiahs, having played polo together for many years. They played polo alongside wealth and royalty, which includes the British royal family.

When signing for the club, Bolkiah wrote on Instagram in a post that has since been removed:

“Happy to announce I have signed a long term professional contract at Leicester City FC. I would like to thank all my family and close friends for all the support. Was also a pleasure meeting the owner himself. Can’t wait to get started.”

While he stayed at Leicester for 4 years, he never did manage to make a first-team appearance at the club and eventually moved on to Maritimo in Portugal. He moved from Leicester on a free transfer. When signing for the club, Faiq said:

“I am very pleased to be here and to have made this decision. I am sure that this is the right club for me and my career. My goals are to always give my best in each training session and in each game, to evolve and help the team with whatever is needed”

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At Maritimo, he didn’t manage to play for the first team either, but he did play for their B team. While he didn’t crack Europe, his teammate Claudio Winck spoke positively about him and his attitude.

“He’s still young and I believe he has a bright future ahead of him. As a person, he’s really humble and a hard worker. We’re quite close and spend a lot of time together, not least because I speak a bit of English and his Portuguese isn’t great yet. He’s a great guy, a kind spirit. He has everything it takes to build a beautiful career.”

Bolkiah look’s at his time in Portugal as a failure, not only due to himself, but due to the club using his name and reputation for their own gain.

“Maritimo said to me you’ll come here, you’ll play’ so I said ‘I just want to be here for a year. The main thing for me is I want to play.’ Obviously, that didn’t happen. I definitely regret moving there. I feel like there was a lot of politics to do with it as well, why Maritimo wanted me. I didn’t feel like they were being fully honest.”

Return to Asia

After failing to make the grade in Europe and being released early by Maritimo. Bolkiah made the move back to Asia and to Thailand’s League 1 outift, Chonburi.

“I never had (the thought) in my head that I would come to Asia,” he said. “I sat down with my agent, my advisors and my family members, and I just said to them ‘I can’t risk going to another club, them signing me for reasons outside of football, and not playing, wasting another year or two years.’ “I said ‘I don’t care about anything else. I just want to play week in, week out and show people how I can play.’ Everyone agreed.”

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After 2 years at the club, he moved onto pastures new with fellow Thai Division One side, Ratchaburi F.C, where he has found himself mostly playing as an impact sub for The Dragons.

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In terms of wealth, Faiq Bolkiah is in a league of his own. While Messi and Ronaldo have amassed their fortunes through salaries, bonuses, endorsements, and business ventures, Bolkiah’s wealth is inherited, stemming from his family’s royal fortune. This distinction sets him apart in the world of football, where the majority of players’ wealth is self-made from their careers.

Despite his immense wealth, Faiq Bolkiah’s dedication to football showcases his passion for the sport. He has represented Brunei at various youth levels and continues to pursue his career in professional football, aspiring to make a name for himself based on his skills and not just his heritage. Which is something that should be admired rather than laughed at.

The Richest Football Player: For Passion, Not for Money.

In conclusion, Faiq Bolkiah’s status as the richest football player in the world is unique. While he may not have the same footballing accolades as Messi and Ronaldo, his extraordinary background and wealth make him a fascinating figure in the world of football. Although his playing career hasn’t reached the heights of Ronaldo or Messi and likely never will, Bolkiah remains a significant figure due to his royal status and his massive bank balance.

When asked why he wanted to become a footballer, he said:

‘All my brothers sit at home doing nothing. I want to actually do something. I don’t want to be like them’.

A modern-day Marcus Aurelius. Money can’t buy happiness, but football can.

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