Ranking the 7 Highest Paid Players in the MLS 2024

Ranking the 7 Highest Paid Players in the MLS 2024

Isaac Darko
May 17, 2024 at 7:11 PM

The Major League Soccer (MLS) is climbing the ranks and is close to being a top 10 league globally.

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Competing with the Saudi Pro League to attract big names, both leagues aim to be the biggest outside Europe.

Previously, the MLS was the go-to for high-profile players like Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, and David Beckham.

Sports Brief looks at the highest-paid players currently in the MLS, based solely on their base salary, as per the MLS Players Association, excluding endorsements and contract clauses.

Highest-Paid MLS Players in 2024

Sebastian Driussi - £3.5 million per year

Driussi, a key player for River Plate and Zenit Saint Petersburg, is now aiming to dominate with Austin FC.

Co-owned by Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey, Austin's roster lacks star power compared to other MLS teams.

This has led to an inconsistent period for the club, finishing second in the Western Conference in 2022 but dropping to 12th the following year.

Hector Herrera - £3.75 million per year

Since joining Houston Dynamo on a free transfer from Atlético Madrid in March 2022, Herrera is now close to his native Mexico.

Houston had a poor 2022, finishing second-bottom in the Western Conference, but bounced back to finish fourth the following season.

The Mexican international is the club's highest earner at $4.75 million per year, though this pales compared to top earners in other leagues.

Emil Forsberg - £4.2 million per year

The well-known Swede, a recent MLS acquisition, moved to New York in January from RB Leipzig, marking the end of his elite European career.

He started strong in the U.S., contributing seven goals in 11 games, losing only twice, and captaining the team whenever available.

Xherdan Shaqiri - £5.8 million per year

Premier League fans know Shaqiri can create spectacular plays from nothing.

The Swiss star, with titles in England, Germany, and Switzerland, earns a hefty $7.35 million annually in Chicago.

Chicago Fire, winless in the MLS Cup since 1998, hope Shaqiri can lead them to success. However, he's underwhelmed so far, scoring just 16 times in 73 games.

Lorenzo Insigne - £5.9 million per year

Fresh off winning the 2020 UEFA European Championship with Italy, Insigne broke hearts in Naples by leaving his boyhood club after 16 years for Toronto.

His transfer made him the highest-paid player in MLS at the time, with a $7.5 million contract that was too good to refuse.

Toronto finished at the bottom and second from bottom in the last two seasons, raising concerns.

However, they are currently a respectable sixth after 13 games this term.

Sergio Busquets - £6.7 million per year

Inter Miami have drastically improved their squad, now boasting one of the strongest teams in MLS.

Alongside MLS veterans like DeAndre Yedlin, they have added La Liga stars Jordi Alba, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Busquets.

Considered by many as the greatest defensive midfielder ever, Busquets has a decorated career with nine La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, and a World Cup.

After 18 years at Barcelona, he joined Inter Miami on a two-and-a-half-year deal worth $8.5 million annually, drawn by the city's Hispanic culture and the chance to play with former teammates.

Lionel Messi - £9.5 million per year

There was no doubt it would be Messi. Arguably the biggest name in the league since David Beckham, the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner has unsurprisingly dominated MLS.

With a $12 million per year salary and a share of MLS earnings from its Apple TV deal, bringing the greatest player ever to the US was costly.

The investment has paid off, with Messi being a talisman from the start. He played a crucial role in winning the 2023 MLS Leagues Cup, the first silverware in the club's history.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)