5 highest-paid MLS players: Busquets joins Messi At The Summit

Inter Miamis Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets On The Training Pitch
Inter Miamis Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets On The Training Pitch

The United States’ premier soccer division, Major League Soccer (MLS), has become a desirable destination for elite players, and for good reason. Thanks to a welcoming fanbase and considerably forgiving match scheduling, they get a chance to relish the game they love. To top it off, the majority of the MLS teams have deep pockets and are capable of offering lucrative salaries to their stars.

Today, we will take a look at five players who are making big bucks in the MLS. Here are the league’s highest earners as of August 2023:

Data: MARCA (1, 2)

#5 Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (LA Galaxy) — $7.44 million

Chicharito is one of the highest-paid MLS players
Chicharito In Action For LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy ace Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has been with MLS side LA Galaxy since joining them from Sevilla for a $9.34 million fee in 2020. The Mexican ace, who has plied his trade at European powerhouses such as Real Madrid and Manchester United, is one of MLS’ highest-paid players, with him taking home a whopping $7.44 million, per year.

Since joining LA Galaxy, Chicharito has featured in 83 games for the club in all competitions, scoring 39 times and claiming seven assists. The 35-year-old, who is still looking for his first silverware in America, sees his contract expire in December 2023.

#4 Lorenzo Insigne (Toronto FC) — $7.5 million

Lorenzo Insigne Is One Of The Highest Paid Players In MLS
Lorenzo Insigne Is One Of The Highest Paid Players In MLS

Former Napoli ace Lorenzo Insigne signed for Toronto FC as a free agent in February 2022, penning a massive $14 million deal. He has since taken a massive pay cut and is currently on a $7.5 million/year contract. At Toronto FC, Insigne has appeared in 27 games thus far, scoring 10 times and claiming four assists. The 32-year-old’s contract expires in June 2026.

Before moving to the United States, Insigne played 434 games for his boyhood club Napoli. During his stay in Naples, he scored 122 goals and provided 95 assists in all competitions.

#3 Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire) — $8.2 million

Xherdan Shaqiri Is One Of The Highest Earners In MLS
Xherdan Shaqiri Is One Of The Highest Earners In MLS

One of the most versatile players of this generation, Xherdan Shaqiri earns a whopping $8.2 million per year at Chicago Fire, making him MLS’ third-highest earner.

Following successful spells at Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Stoke City, Liverpool, and finally, Olympique Lyon, Shaqiri signed for Chicago Fire for a $7.65 million fee in February 2022. The attacking midfielder, who is also capable of playing on either wing, has so far played in 52 matches for the club across competitions, scoring 12 times and claiming 11 assists. The 31-year-old’s contract with Chicago expires in December 2024.

#2 Sergio Busquets (Inter Miami) — $10 million

Sergio Busquets Is One Of MLS Highest Earners
Sergio Busquets In Action for Inter Miami

Following in the footsteps of his friend Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets joined MLS club Inter Miami as a free agent on July 16, following the end of his contract with Barcelona. According to Spanish outlet Marca, the three-time UEFA Champions League winner earns a salary of $10 million per year at Inter Miami. The 35-year-old will see his contract expire in December 2025.

The Spanish defensive midfielder, who won 32 trophies with Barcelona between 2008 and 2023, has featured in three games for the Herons so far. Helped by his spotless display in the middle of the park, Miami has racked up three Leagues Cup wins on the bounce.

#1 Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) — $54 million

Inter Miami's Lionel Messi is MLS' highest-paid player
Lionel Messi Celebrates After Scoring Against Orlando City

Considerably ahead of the pack sits seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, who, as per MARCA, is on a staggering $54 million/year contract at Inter Miami. No player in the history of MLS has earned more than the Argentine magician.

Messi, who spent two years at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) prior to joining Miami as a free agent in July, has hit the ground running. He marked his debut by converting an injury-time free-kick, propelling his new employers to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup. The 36-year-old has since played two more games, bagging a brace in each of those matches.

Arrow to top