You would be forgiven for thinking that Cristiano Ronaldo or even Lionel Messi is the world’s richest footballer. After all, these two athletes have become synonymous with football globally and are also nicknamed the GOATs (Greatest of All Time). So, whenever someone is asked who is the richest footballer in the world, these are two names that would instantly flash into people’s minds.
However, here comes the surprise! The world’s richest footballer is not Cristiano or Leo Messi, but Bruneian footballer Faiq Bolkiah. Bolkiah is one of the younger members of the Bruneian Royal Family. He has represented his country at the Under-19 and Under-23 levels in many tournaments, including the 2015 Southeast Asian Games. He is the son of Jefri Bolkiah, the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah. His estimated net worth is USD 20 billion, which places him at the top of the world’s richest footballers list.
Born in Los Angeles, United States, Bolkiah received his education at Bradfield College in Berkshire, United Kingdom. During his formative years, he was a member of A.F.C. Newbury and had signed a deal with the Southampton F.C. Academy. He signed a contract with Chelsea in 2014 and a three-year professional contract with Leicester City two years later.
He joined the Portuguese sports club Maritimo in 2020. A year later, he joined Chonburi, the top club in the Thai football league, where he currently plays as a midfielder. He became the first-ever Bruneian to join a Thai football club.
Bolkiah was scouted for the American youth teams, but he chose to play for Brunei. He has made six appearances for Brunei in senior international football and also scored a goal for his national team. Despite being born in the United States, Bolkiah also holds Bruneian citizenship.