Major League Soccer’s most extravagant spenders, Miami, Toronto, and LA Galaxy, were all eliminated from the 2023 playoff race as the league season came to an end days ago.
These teams, who dominated the payroll rankings, will be left watching from the sidelines as the playoffs unfold.
The Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) recently released its annual salary data, revealing the staggering financial commitments of these three highest-spending teams.
Miami claimed the top spot with $39.4 million in total guaranteed compensation, while Toronto FC wasn’t far behind with $32.3 million. The LA Galaxy secured the third position with a substantial $25 million in players’ salaries.
Heading into the final round of MLS fixtures, it is nothing short of astounding that these high-spending teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention, signaling the unpredictability and competitiveness of the league.
The individual salary chart also holds an unsurprising narrative, with global football icon Lionel Messi leading the way with a $20.4 million in annualized compensation for his graceful football for the David Beckham-led Miami club.
This amount alone surpasses the entire payroll of all but three other MLS teams and amounts to more than twice the combined earnings of every player in Orlando City.
Messi’s Inter Miami contract includes a $12 million base salary, which combined with other bonuses and incentives, results in his total compensation of $20,446,667.
The numbers do not even take into account Messi’s equity stake in Inter Miami, his share of Apple TV+ subscriptions, or jersey sales.
In the MLS salary list, Messi reigns supreme, followed by Toronto’s Lorenzo Insigne at $15.4 million, Chicago’s Xherdan Shaqiri at $8,153,000, the LA Galaxy’s Javier Hernández at $7,443,750, Toronto’s Federico Bernardeschi at $6,295,381, and Austin’s Sebastián Driussi at $6,022,500.
Messi’s astronomical compensation means he singlehandedly accounts for 4% of MLS’s total compensation, which stands at a staggering $501.9 million.
Despite his remarkable earnings, Messi’s impact wasn’t helpful in getting Miami a place in the Playoffs.
However, Messi played a pivotal role in helping his team secure the title in the inaugural Leagues Cup, scoring 10 goals in just seven games.