Who is the richest footballer in the world? Meet the mega-rich Brunei royalty in Leicester City's ranks

Comments()
Getty/Goal
The 20-year-old Leicester academy midfielder is the most valued player in the world, though he has yet to make a senior appearance for the Foxes

When you try to think of the world's wealthiest footballers, it's natural to have your mind immediately flit to the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo – or perhaps simply a formidable player playing for a top-class European club.

Alexis Sanchez earns £350,000 per week at Old Trafford and is the highest-paid player in the Premier League, while Aaron Ramsey will be paid a handsome £400,000 per week at Juventus.

In reality, the world's richest footballer just so happens to be 20-year-old Leicester reserve player Faiq Bolkiah. The nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, the enigmatic youngster is worth an estimated £15 billion ($20bn) – blowing Ronaldo's estimated net worth of between £200m and £250m out of the water.

Bolkiah has been plying his trade with the Foxes academy, having first signed a three-year professional contract in March 2016. He has yet to make a first-team appearance with Leicester, however, and little is known about his involvement with the reserves set-up. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

🌨❄️😬

A post shared by FJB (@fjefrib) on

Regarded as a talented midfielder, Bolkiah – who was born in the Los Angeles and could have chosen to represent the U.S. national team but opted to play for Brunei – started his youth career at AFC Newbury.

In 2009, he joined Southampton's esteemed youth set-up and stayed there for four years before making the move to Arsenal after the Gunners offered him a trial in 2013.

With the Gunners' youth team, Bolkiah competed in the 2013 Lion City Cup and bagged a goal. It was with the Arsenal academy that he caught the attention of Chelsea, who offered the forward a two-year deal that he signed. After just one year with the Chelsea reserves where he presumably got frustrated with a lack of game time, he moved to Leicester on a three-year deal in 2016 – where he remains to his day.

Full details about Bolkiah at Leicester are scarce, having only featured for their reserve side and never even being named as a substitute in a first-team fixture. There is little to no information about the player on the official Foxes website – there's not even a roster for their academy side - though a visit to his Instagram, which is his only official social media page, offers more details.

He boasts 122k followers and describes himself as a professional Leicester athlete. According to his bio, he is sponsored by Nike and is active within the team – posting semi-regular photos of his training with the Leicester second string.

He has also made his full international debut with Brunei, first representing his country at Under-21 and U-23 levels as well as the 2015 Southeast Asian Games. He bagged his first senior international goal in that tournament, scoring in a 1–2 defeat to Timor Leste, and has since earned five more senior caps.

Despite never having made a senior appearance at club level, he's probably already made more playing for Leicester's reserve sides than Ronaldo and Messi have earned during their entire footballing careers.

The Sultan of Brunei's brother – Bolkiah's uncle – reportedly spent roughly £7 billion across 15 years as the head of the Brunei Investment Agency.

Prince Jefri Bolkiah is known to have spent up to £35m per month on luxury items such as cars, watches and white gold pens. He boasts an elite car collection that includes Bentleys, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces.

One of the most notable of Prince Jefri's splash-the-cash moments is when he flew the late Michael Jackson over to perform a private solo concert for his 50th birthday .

Prince Jefri has earned a reputation as a notorious playboy over the years with young Faiq Bolkiah sharing of a large chunk of his lavish wealth, but in fairness to the Leicester youngster, he remains humble and keen to focus on his football career because his pure love of the sport and not for the glamorous lifestyle so associated with it.

Article continues below

"My parents have always been supportive in helping me to achieve my dreams of being a footballer," Bolkiah said about his burgeoning career via the Mirror.

"They trained me hard both psychologically and physically through my childhood years, so I have to say they are my role models."

More cursory glimpses into his Instagram show a life devoid of the flashy cars and luxury apartments that his uncle seems to be fond of, and time will tell if his talents as a footballer match the status of his family's wealth.

Close