Shaqiri leads Insigne, Chicharito as highest paid player in MLS

Jeff CarlisleAmerican football correspondentMay 16, 2023, 1 p.m. ET2 minute read

Xherdan Shaqiri is yet to score since joining the Chicago Fire in February.Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Fire FC midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri regained his title as the highest-paid player in MLS with a guaranteed total compensation of $8.15 million, ahead of Toronto FC star Lorenzo Insigne and LA Galaxy striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernández.

Insigne was the highest-paid player last September, but Shaqiri regained his position after Insigne’s annualized salary fell from $14 million to $7.5 million, according to data released Tuesday by MLS Players’ Association.

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There was no other movement in the first five employees. Hernandez, 34, retained his third-place finish with guaranteed earnings of $7.44 million. Insigne’s teammate and countryman Federico Bernardeschi is fourth on the list with $6.3 million, with last year’s MVP voting runner-up Sebastian Driussi of Austin FC fifth with $6 million. . Across the league, there are 112 players with guaranteed earnings of $1 million or more.

Shaqiri, 31, surpassed previous MLS record Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he was signed from French club Lyon last year. However, he suffered a disappointing start to the 2023 season with no goals in six appearances for a Chicago team that parted ways last week with head coach Ezra Hendrickson.

The average guaranteed earnings for the entire player pool is $528,984, up 12% from the Spring 2022 mark of $472,008. Salaries for players at the bottom of the league pay scale also rose, rising 18.6% to $294,500 from the previous mark of $248,333.

MLS and MLSPA are in year three of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which was agreed to in February 2021. The CBA will continue through the end of the 2027 season.

With two players in the top four, Toronto has the highest payroll with $25.74 million in guaranteed compensation. The LA Galaxy is second ($23.46 million) and Atlanta United third ($21.26 million). DC United ($20.02 million) and Austin FC ($19.92 million) complete the top five. Three of those five — Toronto, LA Galaxy and Austin — are outside playoff positions.

Reigning MLS Cup and Supporters Shield holders LAFC rank 10th with $17.48 million payroll

CF Montreal ($10.51 million) and first-year expansion team St. Louis City SC ($10.93 million) have the lowest payrolls.

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