Lionel Messi tops MLS highest-paid players

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Analysis of MLS Player Compensation Data

The Major League Soccer Players Association recently released data on the total guaranteed compensation of players in the league, shedding light on the earning potential of some of the top performers in the sport. One standout from the report is Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi, who currently holds the title of MLS’s highest-paid player with a total guaranteed compensation of $20.45 million.

It is important to note that Messi’s compensation only reflects the playing portion of his earnings, with additional revenue streams such as his lucrative endorsement deal with Adidas and a revenue-sharing agreement with league broadcast partner Apple contributing to his overall income. This multi-faceted approach to compensation underscores the increasing complexity of player contracts in the modern sports landscape.

Top Earners in Major League Soccer

Following Messi on the list of the league’s top earners is Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne, whose guaranteed compensation stands at $15.44 million. Meanwhile, Messi’s Inter Miami teammate Sergio Busquets rounds out the top three with earnings of $8.77 million. These figures highlight the significant financial investment that clubs are making in top-tier talent to secure their competitive edge in the MLS.

Chicago Fire forward Xherdan Shaqiri, who held the title of the league’s highest earner in the previous year, now occupies the fourth spot with a guaranteed compensation of $8.15 million. Similarly, Austin FC forward Sebastián Driussi rounds out the top five with earnings of $6.72 million. The shifting dynamics of player salaries in the MLS reflect the evolving market forces at play in professional sports.

Team Spending Breakdown

When examining the total guaranteed compensation per team, it becomes clear that Inter Miami is leading the pack with a staggering $41.68 million investment in player salaries. This record-breaking figure places the Herons well ahead of their competitors, with Toronto FC coming in second at $31.41 million and Chicago Fire following closely behind at $25.13 million.

On the other end of the spectrum, Columbus Crew, the reigning MLS Cup champions, rank 21st with a payroll of $15.19 million. This disparity in team spending underscores the varying approaches that clubs are taking to build competitive rosters and achieve success in the league.

League-wide Trends

Overall, the average guaranteed compensation for all players in the MLS has increased by 12.4% from the previous year, reaching $594,390. However, the median salary has only seen a modest 4.8% rise, highlighting the disparities in earnings between top earners and average players in the league.

As the MLS enters its fourth year under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the landscape of player compensation continues to evolve. With 115 players now earning at least $1 million in guaranteed compensation, the league’s financial outlook remains robust as teams invest in top talent to drive success on the pitch.

Total Guaranteed Compensation per Team:

  • Inter Miami – $41.68 million
  • Toronto FC – $31.41 million
  • Chicago Fire – $25.13 million
  • Nashville SC – $21.4 million
  • FC Cincinnati – $18.71 million
  • Austin FC – $18.41 million
  • New England Revolution – $18.32 million
  • LA Galaxy – $17.93 million
  • New York Red Bulls – $17.11 million
  • Houston Dynamo – $16.77 million
  • Atlanta United – $16.66 million
  • Seattle Sounders – $16.58 million
  • New York City FC – $16.54 million
  • Colorado Rapids – $16.33 million
  • FC Dallas – $16.23 million
  • D.C. United – $16.17 million
  • LAFC – $15.9 million
  • Sporting Kansas City – $15.87 million
  • Portland Timbers – $15.37 million
  • Vancouver Whitecaps – $15.2 million
  • Columbus Crew – $15.19 million
  • Orlando City – $15.07 million
  • Minnesota United – $14.91 million
  • Philadelphia Union – $14.82 million
  • Charlotte FC – $14.53 million
  • San Jose Earthquakes – $13.63 million
  • Real Salt Lake – $13.6 million
  • CF Montréal – $12.05 million
  • St. Louis City – $11.79 million

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Chris Jones

Hey there! 👋 I'm Chris, 34 yo from Toronto (CA), I'm a journalist with a PhD in journalism and mass communication. For 5 years, I worked for some local publications as an envoy and reporter. Today, I work as 'content publisher' for InformOverload. 📰🌐 Passionate about global news, I cover a wide range of topics including technology, business, healthcare, sports, finance, and more. If you want to know more or interact with me, visit my social channels, or send me a message.
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