LONDON – Faiq Bolkiah is probably not a name familiar with many football fans.
That’s because he plays for Portuguese side Maritimo and the Brunei national team after an unsuccessful spell in England.
That’s barely even the half of it though; Bolkiah has one of the most fascinating back stories in the whole of football.
The Brunei international is the nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah – who is worth a whopping $20 billion (Â£16bn).
One of 17 siblings, he is one of several heirs to the Sultan’s huge fortune as the son of Prince Jefri, the Sultan of Brunei’s brother.
That makes him easily the richest footballer in the world, with global superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s net worth paling in comparison.
Due to his family’s royal links, Bolkiah has in fact met the queen, posting a snap of their encounter to his 192k Instagram followers.
After being educated at Bradfield College in Berkshire, the Los Angeles-born winger began his career at AFC Newbury, before being signed up by Southampton’s academy.
From there, he had a year with Arsenal and then another with Chelsea, before settling at Leicester.
Bolkiah managed to secure a three-year professional contract with the Foxes, but after not making a single senior appearance, he was released last summer.
Now based in Madeira and playing with Maritimo, Bolkiah made one U23 appearance last season and is still waiting for his big break in football.
The fascinating 23-year-old has had more success on an international level with Brunei, picking up six caps and even taking the captain’s armband, with his only goal coming in a 3-2 defeat to Laos in 2016.
Explaining why he has decided to go into a career in football, Bolkiah thanked his billionaire parents for pushing him to pursue his dreams.
In a rare interview, he said while playing for Leicester: “I’ve played football since as early as I can remember and from a young age I’ve always enjoyed going out on the field and having the ball at my feet.
“My parents have always been supportive in helping me to achieve my dreams of being a footballer.
“They trained me hard both psychologically and physically through my childhood years, so I have to say they are my role models.” –Mirror