Major League Soccer continues to attract star players and young up and coming players from around the world. Since the Beckham Designated Player era began in 2007 every MLS club has spent money to make their squads more competitive and there have been various name players who have come to MLS and have been some of the highest-paid players in league history.
The Designated Player rule allows each club to sign up to three players whose wages count outside the league’s salary cap. At the moment there are 67 DPs in MLS playing for various clubs this season. In 2019, the average MLS player salary was $345,867 yearly, on the list, we will see that some DP’s are making up to 5-times the average salary.
While in 2020 MLS has yet to release player salaries, they usually do it in May, due to the pandemic, the players on this list are officially on team books for these salaries. While some teams have made DP signings recently, their salaries do not reflect in total until 2021. Here are the top highest-paid players in MLS!
20. Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili, San Jose Earthquakes - $1.47 million
Vako, as he is known in San Jose, has been with the club since 2017, he has been with them through some tough times and is a pivotal part of their resurgence under Mathias Almeyda. The midfielder is deadly with his passing and he is one of San Jose’s attacking options.
19. Alan Pulido, Sporting KC - $2 million
Alan Pulido signed with Sporting KC for a club-record $9.5 million transfer fee. While it is still early so far so good as Pulido has scored 3 goals in 6 games. While not official it is reported that the Mexican international earns an estimated $2 million per year.
18. Albert Rusnak, Real Salt Lake - $2 million
Albert Rusnak signed with Real Salt Lake in 2017 and has been the teams midfield brain since then. He has been one of the best players for RSL and has had two consecutive 10 goal seasons. He will most likely pass 100 games with the RSL jersey in 2020.
17. Maxi Moralez, NYCFC - $2 million
The little man from Argentina, Maxi Moralez has been the key to so many NYCFC goals since he arrived in 2017. In 2020 he will most likely pass 100 games for the club. The midfield maestro, Maxi is a fan favorite and an MLS all-star.
16. Raul Ruidiaz, Seattle Sounders FC - $2 million
Raul Ruidiaz has been nothing short than a blockbuster signing for the Seattle Sounders. He has an excellent partnership with Nicolás Lodeiro. He has, an almost, 1 goal per 2 game ratio for the club. Ruidiaz was a pivotal part of the Sounders 2019 MLS Cup.
15. Jonathan dos Santos, LA Galaxy - $2 million
Jonathan dos Santos came as a complement for this brother Gio dos Santos, while Jonathan dos Santos has played fairly well for the LA Galaxy, when you think of the Galaxy and DP's he is hardly what you would consider the top of the class.
14. Carles Gil, New England Revolution - $2.3 million
The Spanish international signed for the Revs in 2019 and has been an instant success. He scored 10 goals in 30 games and was named MLS newcomer of the year and the Supporters player of the year.
13. Gustavo Bou, New England Revolution - $2.4 million
Bou signed with the Revolution in 2019 from Tijuana in Mexico. In his debut game, Bou scored an impressive volley in a 4–0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. He has been a consistent goal scorer and one of the Revolution’s top players since signing with the club.
12. Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers - $2.41 million
Valeri is one of the best MLS players of all time. He has entered the MLS’ exclusive 80/80 club having scored 80 goals and 80 assists for the Portland Timbers. Valeri has played over 200 games for the club since arriving in 2013.
11. Nani, Orlando City - $2.48 million
Nani joined Orlando City in 2019 and has been a consistent contributor for the team since his arrival. The team captain, the Orlando attack is built around the talented Portuguese midfielder.
10. Nicolás Lodeiro, Seattle Sounders - $2.5 million
Nicolás Lodeiro might possibly be one of the greatest Sounders players ever. Arriving from Argentine power Boca Juniors in 2016 he has been the string-puller of the Sounders midfield. Since his arrival, the club has won 2 MLS Cups and he has played over 100 games.
9. Sebastián Blanco, Portland Timbers - $2.85 million
Blanco arrived in Portland in 2017 and has been one the Timbers most consistent performers. In 2020 he was having a breakout year until he was injured, where he was an early 2020 MVP candidate. He was the MLS is Back player of the tournament.
8. Josef Martínez, Atlanta United - $3.05 million
One of the most lethal goal scorers in MLS, Josef Martinez has been nothing but goals for Atlanta United. He has 77 goals in 84 games. LETHAL! Despite his injuries, few players find the back of the net like Martinez. He scored 19 goals in 2017, 31 in 2018, and 27 in 2019.
7. Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC - $3.8 million
Pozuelo is the midfield brain of Toronto FC. He arrived in 2019 as a replacement for the recently departed Sebastian Giovinco and Víctor Vázquez in the creative midfield role. He had an All-star and MLS best 11 debut season scoring 12 goals in 30 games.
6. Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami - $4.9 million
The Mexican international is reported to be on Inter Miami's books for $4.9 million. Thus far the results have been lukewarm, but we won't hold Pizarro to that, Inter Miami has been nothing short of disappointing. The addition of Gonzalo Higuaín raises the question if Pizarro will be the odd man out come 2021.
5. Carlos Vela, LAFC - $6.3 million
Vela is considered by many to be the best player in MLS. He has been nothing but class since his arrival in 2018 to LAFC. In his second season, Vela set the record for most goals scored in a single season by scoring 34 goals. He did not play in the MLS is Back tournament to stay with his wife.
4. Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC - $6.33 million
Many might be shocked to see Altidore so high up on this list, but in 2015 MLS wanted to bring home some of the 2014 World Cup heroes and Altidore was up to a return, especially considering he scored only 1 goal in 42 outings in the EPL. Altidore has been making this salary roughly since 2015!
3. Michael Bradley, Toronto FC - $6.5 million
Bradley is one of the U.S. Men’s National Team all-time best players. He was playing very well in Serie A for Roma, although he was not an out and out starter when MLS called in 2014. Again in 2014 MLS was looking to bring home prominent American players and paid them very well to return. It’s up to debate if Bradley has been worth such a high salary.
2. Javier Hernández, LA Galaxy - $7.2 million
The crown jewel of MLS. Chicharito is MLS prize catch, it took a long time to get Javier Hernandez to MLS, but he is finally here. He is on the Galaxy books at 7.2 million and the LA Galaxy is hoping the Mexican international can take them to their sixth title.
1. Gonzalo Higuaín, Inter Miami - $8.8 million
Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuaín is the leagues highest- paid player, he has signed a two year deal with Inter Miami for $8.8 Million a year, according to the Miami Herald. Higuaín is a proven goalscorer having scored over 100 goals for Real Madrid, 71 for Napoli, 48 for Juventus. He will score, the question is will it be enough for a poorly put together Inter Miami side.
Check our latest news in Google NewsFOLLOW US