There are not many people in the world who can buy Manchester United but one footballer could stump up the cash.
It is no secret that the best professionals enjoy cushy lives on mega wages but not all of them become billionaires.
Granted, not many are members of the royal family, like Faiq Bolkiah, arguably the richest footballer in the world with a net worth of £16billion ($20bn), last reported by Marca in 2020.
To put that in perspective, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are often denoted as the players with the highest earnings every year.
Messi is worth a reported £511million and Ronaldo approximately £412m, both reported by the the Express.
That amounts to less than a billion – a fraction of Bolkiah’s total net worth – not bad for a someone who has played in the academies at Chelsea, Leicester and Southampton.
And with the Glazers putting United up for sale for £6bn, that means that the youngster could afford to purchase the club twice over – and still have plenty of change in his pocket.
Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe might have something to say about that as the frontrunners for the purchase of the club.
While there is no interest from the Bruneian royal family, they could easily blow both of the two prospectors out of the water but Bolkiah is just concentrating on his football.
As the nephew of the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, Faiq never truly had to work a day in his life but that did not stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
Currently plying his trade in Thailand for Chonburi, the 24-year-old has not given up making it in the big leagues having spent time with some Premier League giants.
At the age of 12, he signed for Southampton’s academy in 2009 after starting out at AFC Newbury, a club near his school Bradfield College in Berkshire.
After a brief spell with Reading, Arsenal offered Bolkiah a trial where he played in the 2013 Lion City Cup against the likes of Corinthians. PSV Eindhoven and Eintracht Frankfurt and even bagged a goal.
But it was Chelsea that snapped him up in 2014 on a two-year contract where he plied his trade for the reserves before leaving for Leicester on a four-year deal.
Alas, he never achieved his dream of playing in the Premier League and never even made the bench for the Blues or the Foxes and eventually left on a free transfer for Portuguese side Maritimo.
However, his fortunes did not improve much there either – though he did manage to break into the B team, making three appearances in the 2020/21 season.
Now aged 24, Bolkiah is a key player for Chonburi in the top division of Thai football, where he has made 26 appearances and scored twice.
Regarded as a talented midfielder, the youngster also has six caps for the Brunei national squad and has one goal – scoring against Laos in 2016.
Whether Bolkiah will ever return to Europe remains to be seen when it might be easier to hang up his boots to continue his life as a member of the Brunei royal family while he has admitted that leaving England was a mistake for his footballing career.
“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,” he told the Main Stand earlier this year.
“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.”