Top 10 Highest-Paid MLS Players by Salary 2023
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Playing in Major League Soccer (MLS), which has a reputation for offering high salaries and lucrative contracts to players from all over the world, is one way to earn a significant income in professional soccer.
Although winning championships and trophies is a major goal for many players, the possibility of significant financial compensation is a major draw to MLS. In this regard, we can examine the current highest paid MLS players through 2023 to see who is currently earning the most money in the league.
Top 10 Highest-Paid MLS Players 2023
1. Lorenzo Insigne, Toronto FC
Annual Salary: £12,168,000
It's not surprising that the Serie A superstar and Napoli legend, who now calls Toronto home, is ranked first on the list of the highest-paid MLS players in 2023. His salary of £12,168,000 is clearly a lot of money, almost equal to the combined earnings of the second and third-placed players on the list.
His high pay is most likely due to his consistent performance in Serie A and his relatively young age of 31. Furthermore, his status as an Italian full international attracts a lot of media attention and coverage for the club. Because he is the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer, the Toronto FC board of directors will most likely prioritize building the team's future around him and expect quick results.
2. Xherdan Shaqiri, Chicago Fire
Annual Salary: £7,072,000
Former Premier League players are typically among the highest-paid MLS players in 2023. Xherdan Shaqiri, who has previously played for Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Inter Milan, earns a tidy £7,072,000 per year.
Despite his significant contribution to the Swiss national team and participation in the 2022 World Cup, his Chicago Fire teammates were not on the same level as him. Despite delivering the same level of quality that he is known for, Shaqiri's team did not make the playoffs. It remains to be seen whether the club needs to invest more to improve or if Shaqiri's influence will be felt in 2023, but having him on the team appears to be a costly luxury.
3. Federico Bernardeschi, Toronto FC
Annual Salary: £5,460,000
Bernadeschi is another exceptionally talented European player who has relocated to the United States while still in their prime years.
At his best, the 39-cap Italy international is a delightfully dangerous presence who won three consecutive Scudetti with Juventus between 2018 and 2020 while also being a member of Italy's Euro 2020-winning squad.
He wasn't getting as many chances in Turin as he would have liked, so he moved to MLS and became a star with Toronto FC.
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4. Chicharito, LA Galaxy
Annual Salary: £5,200,000
Javier Hernandez, who was once the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer, is no longer among the top three earners, as other teams invest more heavily in their players. Despite continuing to earn a substantial salary of £5,200,000 per season, the LA Galaxy striker has fallen behind other players in terms of earnings.
Hernandez, a former Manchester United player, has been a consistent goal scorer for the Galaxy, tallying 15 or more goals in each of the previous two seasons. During his tenure, however, the team has not won any major trophies.
5. Facundo Torres, Orlando City
Annual Salary: £5,200,000
Facundo Torres was linked with Arsenal during the winter transfer window, but he has yet to respond. Furthermore, he appears to be more interested in watching his boyhood club, Penarol, in Uruguay, commenting that he tries to visit the ground as often as his Orlando SC commitments allow.
His £5,200,000 per season comes in handy for airfare, but he doesn't appear to be motivated by money in general. Whether or not Arsenal matched his salary, there is speculation that he wants to lead Orlando City to the top of Major League Soccer, with supporters believing he is capable of winning the MVP award.
6. Héctor Herrera, Houston Dynamo
Annual Salary: £4,628,000
The Houston Dynamo aren't known for splashing money or offering lucrative contracts to foreign players. Brad Davis, Geoff Cameron, and Ricardo Clark are three of the club's most famous players, and they are all Americans.
Hector Herrera, a 32-year-old Mexican international midfielder, defies the trend with a one-year contract worth £4,628,000. Despite not having the most successful start to his MLS career, the contract was later extended until the end of the 2024 season.
He only played 10 games after joining in the summer of 2022. As a result, he only scored one goal and assisted on another. However, he was given the captain's armband, indicating that the franchise believes he will prove his worth in due time.
7. Christian Benteke, D.C. United
Annual Salary: £3,744,000
Despite the fact that he did not enter the league as a new player this season, Benteke is hoping for a new start in 2023 to prove his worth and justify his reported annual salary of £3,744,000. He brings experience and a track record of success to the D.C. United team as a former striker for Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Crystal Palace. However, the club's accounting department may need to look into his contract further because he has yet to provide significant value since his arrival in August 2022. In seven MLS appearances, he has only scored once, in a 3-2 loss to Inter Miami.
8. Carlos Vela, LAFC
Annual Salary: £3,640,000
Carlos Vela is unquestionably deserving of his position as one of the highest-paid players in Major League Soccer for 2023, given his contributions not only to Los Angeles FC but also to the league as a whole. The former Mexican international forward has won numerous individual awards, including the MVP award, Golden Boot, and Best MLS Player ESPY Award, an honor previously held by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Villa, and David Beckham. Given his consistent goal threat for the reigning champions, it's not surprising that he earns a yearly salary of £3,640,000.
9. Luiz Araujo, Atlanta United
Annual Salary: £3,432,000
After doing the impossible in France, knocking Paris Saint-Germain off their perch with Lille, Luiz Araujo moved closer to home to make some money with Atlanta United. A tidy £3,432,000 per year does more than just keep the lights on.
While he will be disappointed with his defensive teammates, he kicked off the 2023 preseason with a brace in a 3-3 tie with Chattanooga FC. Once again, delivering on his worth and justifying his pay.
10. Lucas Zelarayan, Columbus Crew
Annual Salary: £3,224,000
Zelarayan, a 30-year-old Argentina-born Armenian international, is probably the least well-known name on this list, at least outside the Americas.
Zelarayan, a classic diminutive South American No.10 of the type that often seems to find success in MLS, joined Columbus Crew from Tigres UANL in 2020.
Since then, he's more than held his own, helping the Crew win the MLS Cup in 2020 and winning the MLS Player of the Month award as recently as March 2022.
Top 10 Highest Paid MLS Teams
The average player salary in the MLS is $386,668, and the average yearly wage bill for all the players in a team is $8,170,454.
Average Annual Salary
Yearly Wage Bill
1. Toronto FC
2. Houston Dynamo
3. FC Cincinnati
4. Austin FC
5. LA Galaxy
6. Chicago Fire FC
7. St. Louis City SC
8. Atlanta United FC
9. Portland Timbers
10. Los Angeles FC
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