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


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 $150m over the life of the two-and-a-half year contract he signed with Miami and MLS last year.

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

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

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 $41.68m which is not only a league record, but more than double the amount of all but three other teams.

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

Reigning MLS Cup holders the Columbus Crew rank 21st with a payroll of $15.19m while St. Louis City ($11.79m) and CF Montréal ($12.05m) 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 $1m.

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

Here is the total Guaranteed Compensation per team.

1. Inter Miami – $41.68m

2. Toronto FC – $31.41m

3. Chicago Fire – $25.13m

4. Nashville SC – $21.4m

5. FC Cincinnati – $18.71m

6. Austin FC – $18.41m

7. New England Revolution – $18.32m

8. LA Galaxy – $17.93m

9. New York Red Bulls – $17.11m

10. Houston Dynamo – $16.77m

11. Atlanta United – $16.66m

12. Seattle Sounders – $16.58m

13. New York City FC – $16.54m

14. Colorado Rapids – $16.33m

15. FC Dallas – $16.23m

16. D.C. United – $16.17m

17. LAFC – $15.9m

18. Sporting Kansas City – $15.87

19. Portland Timbers – $15.37m

20. Vancouver Whitecaps – $15.2m

21. Columbus Crew – $15.19m

22. Orlando City – $15.07m

23. Minnesota United – $14.91m

24. Philadelphia Union – $14.82m

25. Charlotte FC – $14.53m

26. San Jose Earthquakes – $13.63m

27. Real Salt Lake – $13.6m

28. CF Montréal – $12.05m

29. St. Louis City – $11.79m

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