Messi wages, $20.4M, more than 25 MLS payrolls



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Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi is Major League Soccer’s highest-paid player with a total guaranteed compensation of $20.45 million, according to data released by the MLS Players Association.

The amount reflects just the playing portion of Messi’s compensation, with the Argentine also set to benefit from other revenue streams such as his endorsement deal with Adidas and a revenue-sharing agreement with league broadcast partner Apple.

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According to Sportico, Messi stands to earn up to $150 million over the life of the 2½-year contract he signed with Miami and MLS last year.

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne ranked second with a guaranteed compensation of $15.44 million, followed by Messi’s Inter Miami teammate Sergio Busquets at $8.77 million.

Chicago Fire forward Xherdan Shaqiri, the league’s top earner at this time a year ago, is in fourth position at $8.15 million followed by Austin FC forward Sebastián Driussi at $6.72 million.

The salary numbers from the MLSPA are as of April 25, 2024.

The extent of Miami’s spending spree is borne out when one looks at the total guaranteed compensation per team.

The Herons checked in at a staggering $41.68 million, which is not only a league record, but more than double the amount of all but three other teams.

Toronto’s outlay is $31.41 million, followed by Chicago at $25.13 million, Nashville SC at $21.4 million and FC Cincinnati — last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners — at $18.71 million.

Reigning MLS Cup holders the Columbus Crew rank 21st with a payroll of $15.19 million, while St. Louis City ($11.79 million) and CF Montréal ($12.05 million) have the lowest payrolls.

The average guaranteed compensation for the entire player pool is $594,390, up 12.4% from the spring, 2023 mark of $528,984.

In a sign of how top-heavy the league’s salaries have become, the median salary rose just 4.8% from $294,500 this time a year ago to $308,750 now. All told, 115 players have a guaranteed compensation of at least $1 million.

MLS and the MLSPA are in the fourth year of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was agreed upon in February 2021. The current CBA runs through the end of the 2027 season.

Here is the total guaranteed compensation per team:

1. Inter Miami – $41.68 million

2. Toronto FC – $31.41 million

3. Chicago Fire – $25.13 million

4. Nashville SC – $21.4 million

5. FC Cincinnati – $18.71 million

6. Austin FC – $18.41 million

7. New England Revolution – $18.32 million

8. LA Galaxy – $17.93 million

9. New York Red Bulls – $17.11 million

10. Houston Dynamo – $16.77 million

11. Atlanta United – $16.66 million

12. Seattle Sounders – $16.58 million

13. New York City FC – $16.54 million

14. Colorado Rapids – $16.33 million

15. FC Dallas – $16.23 million

16. D.C. United – $16.17 million

17. LAFC – $15.9 million

18. Sporting Kansas City – $15.87 million

19. Portland Timbers – $15.37 million

20. Vancouver Whitecaps – $15.2 million

21. Columbus Crew – $15.19 million

22. Orlando City – $15.07 million

23. Minnesota United – $14.91 million

24. Philadelphia Union – $14.82 million

25. Charlotte FC – $14.53 million

26. San Jose Earthquakes – $13.63 million

27. Real Salt Lake – $13.6 million

28. CF Montréal – $12.05 million

29. St. Louis City – $11.79 million



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