This billionaire teenager is on the books of a Premier League Club
Cristiano Ronaldo was listed, by Business Insider UK, as the world’s richest footballer with a net worth of slightly more than $320 million. The list took into account wages, revenue from outside investments, and sponsorships.
However, what the list failed to look at was other family assets - wealth that will be inherited, for example. When this is factored in, an academy player in the Premier League suddenly tops the list of richest soccer players.
Faiq Bolkiah is the 19-year-old son of the Prince of Brunei who is worth approximately $20 billion dollars. He is currently a regular starter for Leicester City’s reserve team and has been called to the Brunei national team.
The soccer news magazine FourFourTwo named Bolkiah as one of their top 20 players under the age of 20 in Southeast Asia.
“[In 2016] Bolkiah made history by [making his international debut], in the process becoming what’s believed to be the youngest national captain in the history of the global game”, Scott McIntyre wrote in FourFourTwo.
“Couple that with the fact he is currently on the books of [former] English Premier League champions Leicester City, and found a place on FourFourTwo’s inaugural list of the 20 best Southeast Asian players under the age of 20”.
Despite his family’s fortune, Bolkiah is reportedly humble and hardworking. He has already scored for his country in the qualifiers for the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup and kept his cool, hitting the back of the net, during a penalty shootout at the AFC Solidarity Cup later that year.
Born in Los Angeles, Bolkiah is an American citizen and was scouted by several United States youth teams. However, he chose to represent Brunei instead, making his youth debut with the under-19 side in 2013.
Prior to his youth international debut, Bolkiah moved to England where he started his career playing for AFC Newbury’s youth team before joining Southampton’s academy.
After four years there, Bolkiah was noticed by an Arsenal scout and given a trial. He played for the Gunners youth side during the 2013 Lion City Cup in which he scored the opening goal of the tournament against the Singapore under-21 squad.
Bolkiah was not offered a contract by the soccer club Arsenal, but his performance at the tournament piqued the interest of rivals, like Chelsea. They offered the youngster a two-year contract in 2014.
The move did not quite work out and Bolkiah left Chelsea with a half-year left on his contract. He subsequently had another trial with Stoke City before signing a three-year professional contract in March 2016 with Leicester.
Despite some of his prior setbacks and disappointments, Bolkiah remains focussed on improving his game with Leicester and continuing to help improve the Brunei national team as well.
“Being part of some of the biggest clubs in the world has opened my eyes as to how hard you have to train even to get the slightest chance of being a world-class player”, he told FourFourTwo in an exclusive interview. “I think this has helped a lot during my career and of course playing with Leicester against some strong European teams has helped me to see and learn different styles of play”.
Latin American Post | Daniel Dawson
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