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Thursday, June 20, 2024

The 25 Highest-Paid MLS Players

Aug 23, 2023; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi (10) celebrates with teammates after defeating FC Cincinnati during penalty kicks at TQL Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2023; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi (10) celebrates with teammates after defeating FC Cincinnati during penalty kicks at TQL Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world with some of the highest-paid athletes. Major League Soccer hasn’t had the highest-paid players historically, but it’s catching up to other leagues worldwide. 

Lionel Messi leads the way as the highest-paid MLS player of 2024. He signed a ground-breaking deal with Inter Miami in July of 2023. The deal came seven months after leading his native country Argentina to its third World Cup win. 

The former Barcelona star made an instant impact. He helped struggling Inter Miami win their first trophy, The Leagues Cup. Messi’s $12 million annual salary is almost double the next closest earner. 

Lorenzo Insigne takes the runner-up spot among the highest-paid MLS players. He earns $7.5 million as the premier forward for Toronto FC. 

Xheridan Shaqiri arrived in Chicago in 2022 and has commanded a spot among top earners since. He signed a 1-year deal for $7.35 million that expires in December 2024, making him the third highest-paid player. 

Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera stars for the Houston Dynamo as their highest-paid player. His $4.75 million annual salary puts him fourth on the list. 

Fifth among the highest-paid players, Christian Benteke earns $4.25 million annually with DC United. Beneteke arrived in Washington DC in 2022. He spent the majority of his career playing in England’s Premier League as a forward. 

It pays to score. 

60% of the players on the list, 15 out of 25, are forwards. Nine players play in the midfield. 

Only one defender made the top 25 highest-paid MLS players.

Walker Zimmerman, a center-back with Nashville SC, lands right at 25 on the list. He earns $1.8 million in annual salary. He earns close to $300,000 more than the next highest-paid defender.

Ranking the Highest Paid Major League Soccer Players

Here is the list of the top 25 highest-paid MLS players, based on data from Capology.

  • Updated: May 17, 2024
RankPlayerPositionTeamTotal Compensation
1Lionel MessiForwardInter Miami$12 million
2Lorenzo InsigneForwardToronto FC$7.5 million
3Xheridan ShaqiriForwardChicago Fire$7.35 million
4Hector HerreraMidfielderHouston Dynamo$4.75 million
5Christian BentekeForwardDC United$4.25 million
6Sebatian DriussiMidfielderAustin FC$3.8 million
7Carles GilMidfielderNew England Revolution$3.25 million
8Teemu PukkiForwardMinnesota United$3.2 million
9Federico BernardeschiForwardToronto FC$3.125 million
10Hany MukhtarMidfielderNashville SC$2.9 million
11Diego RossiForwardColumbus Crew$2.625 million
12Cucho HernándezForwardColumbus Crew$2.6 million
13Sam SurridgeForwardNashville SC$2.5 million
14Raul RuidiazForwardSeattle Sounders$2.472 million
15Ryan GauldMidfielderVancouver Whitecaps$2.4 million
16Alan PulidoForwardSporting FC$2.2 million
17Denis BounagaForwardLos Angeles FC$2.083 million
18Saba LobjanidzeForwardAtlanta United$2.052 million
19Luciano AcostaMidfielderFC Cincinnati$1.94 million
20Mateusz KlichMidfielderDC United$1.9 million
21Cristian ArangoForwardReal State$1.89 million
22Evander da Silva FerreiraMidfielderPortland Timbers$1.88 million
23Kevin CabralForwardColorado Rapids$1.8 million
24Darlington NagbeMidfielderColumbus Crew$1.8 million
25Walker ZimmermanDefenderNashville SC$1.8 million

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