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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are renowned for being two of the greatest footballers to ever grace the football pitch, with their wages certainly reflecting that over the years. But the pair would love to have a fraction of the wealth of midfielder Faiq Bolkiah.
The 24-year-old is the world’s richest footballer, having a net worth of an extraordinary $20billion (£16bn) – considerably more than Messi ($600m) and Ronaldo ($490m). Bolkiah is the nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, meaning that he was born into an incredibly wealthy family.
But despite that, the California-born playmaker has been desperate to forge a career in football. Bolkiah was a talented young player but continuously failed to make the cut at certain academies.
He spent time with Southampton and Chelsea before being handed an opportunity at Leicester City. The midfielder spent four years at the club but never managed to break into the first-team fold, despite being handed a contract extension which prompted many to believe that he was on the cusp of a breakthrough.
Bolkiah then decided to leave England and make the move to Portugal, convinced that he would be offered more regular football at Martimo in the Primeira Liga. However, he only made three senior appearances for their B team over the course of his career, leaving the player desperate to depart after a year.
Speaking to Mainstand about the failed move, Bolkiah revealed: “I had about three or four offers after Leicester. 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. It definitely made me stronger.
“It definitely made me work harder and keep my head down. That didn’t change for sure. But I definitely made the right decision to leave. I had another two years left on my contract there. They changed presidents at the time, I went in there and they understood my situation. It wouldn’t have done me or the club any good for me to be there longer.”
Bolkiah now is enjoying his football at Thai side Chonburi, becoming the first player from Brunei to make the move to the country. The No 11 certainly isn’t on the highest wage at the club and will take joy in knowing he has his family’s wealth to fall back on after retirement.
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