Earlier this year the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) released a report with the salary of the MLS players' salaries. Although the amounts are still small if compared to clubs in Europe, some players had a significant increase in their paycheck.
In 2018 we have seen MLS make significant investments, Like hiring the Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He came to the US after accepting a 95 percent pay cut compared to what he earned in Europe. However, he is still on the top of this list after negotiating a better salary for this season. Curious? Here are the highest-paid MLS players.
10 Nani - $2.300.000
Nani signed with Orlando City earlier this year. The player has a $2.3 million salary. More than money, the former Manchester United winger was looking for new challenges. The team was also looking for a player who was living his best moment. Nani looked like the perfect choice.
"They want to be a champion team," Nani said on Pro Soccer. "A team who competes to win. So that's why I was very excited to come and to join this project."
Orlando City introduced Nani to the press on February 2019.
9 Josef Martinez - $3.000.000
Josef Martinez has a $3.000.000 annual salary on Atlanta United. In 2018, the Venezuelan player finished the MLS season with 35 strikes for his team. A record on his career and a groundbreaking achievement for Atlanta United.
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The Venezuelan player had second thoughts about signing up with the club. But he trusted the manager Tata Martino and now he is a superstar.
"It was the dream since the first day," the Venezuelan told The Guardian. "The coaching staff knew the players we had and we made it a shared goal to break the record."
8 Wayne Rooney - $3,500,000.00
Derby County will have an international star on the team in 2019. Earlier in August, they announced Wayne Rooney would join the team and have a $3.5 million salary.
Earlier this month the player announced he would move back home when the contract ends in January because of his family. "While the decision to move home was a tough one, family is everything to us and we make this change to be closer to the ones we love back in England," said the father of three on BBC. "The opportunity to go back home and start the next step of my career in coaching was the factor that made my mind up. I would like to thank everyone at DC United for the incredible support my family and I have received over my two seasons at the club."
7 Alejandro Pozuelo - $3.800.000
When this season ends, Alejandro Puzuelo will be $3.8 million richer. The Toronto FC introduced the Spanish midfielder in March. The team hopes Pozuelo can replace another valuable player.
"When we lost Victor, we wanted someone who could pull strings," TFC president Bill Manning told the press. "Alejandro can. Someone that can manage a game; make the special plays that create goals."
"We have the same philosophy," Pozuelo added. "I want to have the ball, play through combinations. This is my football. When I spoke with the coach, he explained everything. We have the same philosophy: to win and to play."
6 Giovani dos Santos - $4.750.000
Giovani dos Santos joined the LA Galaxy team in 2015, but he left the team when the contract ended in March 2019. The Mexican striker had a $4.750 million salary.
According to the player, staying at the LA Galaxy could have ruined his career, due to wrong medical advice from the team medical staff. "From being a muscular injury, they wanted an operation, they were trying to guess what it was," he told One Football. "If I'd stayed at the Galaxy, we'd now be talking about retirement."
He is now at the Club Futbol America, a team in Mexico.
5 Carlos Vela - $4.500.000
Carlos Vela is one of the stars on MLS. He signed a $4.5 million contract in 2017 and he was delighted with it.
“I’m going at the right time with the desire to try a new adventure, to be close to my country, where my family can visit more often, where I can go home more often, where I’ve always been drawn to the way they live, the way they let people live, how they think about football and all sports in general,” Vela told Real Sociedad’s official website.
4 Jozy Altidore - $4.900.000
Jozy Altidore earns $4.9 million per season at Toronto FC. The talented player is not afraid of having polemic behavior.
"I'm a villain in my own country, and I accept it, it's fine," he told MLS Soccer. "Is the league ready for it? Is the soccer community ready for it?" he says. "I'm not so sure, because soccer in our country is not geared toward that type of personality. Not right now. Maybe eventually. But everybody's got to be clean-cut and be generic and boring. We're making some advances, but we're not there yet.
3 Bastian Schweinsteiger - $5.600.000
Bastian Schweinsteiger signed with Chicago Fire and has a $5.6 million salary per season. The German player had a successful career in Europe but was experiencing a disappointing phase at Manchester United.
"As a league, MLS is very open and anyone can win. It is unpredictable," he told Marca. "I think that in 10 to 15 years it can be of the same level as some European leagues. MLS is young. The big difference is in America, unlike Europe, things are very limited with the salary cap, but players are still coming. It is a league that is more physical technical, but tactically, it must be better. I really like that the attendance at the stadiums is higher than in France or Italy. They are always full."
2 Michael Bradley - $6.000.000
Michael Bradley has a $6 million salary at Toronto F.C., where he plays since 2015. He was the youngest MLS player ever sold and in 2006. It seems that passion for soccer runs in the family DNA. Michael is the son of Bob Bradley, former U.S. national team coach.
"He kind of provides everything for you," said Paul Arriola. "He provides the calmness when things are building up, like right now, when the pressure's on. He just lets you relax and play your game. He covers a lot of ground [on the field], obviously, but it's great to play with him in the middle. He takes care of the center part of the field, and he releases players really well. He's great at communicating and you feel extremely confident.
1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic - $7.200.000
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the highest-paid MLS player. The Swedish player has a $7.2 salary at the LA Galaxy. When he signed with the team in 2018, the striker bought a whole page at the LA time to say five words: You are Welcome, Los Angeles.
The talented player is known for his high self-esteem, but he is also one of the best players in MLS. However, he doesn't look happy at the team. Earlier this year, Ibrahimovic affirmed he was like a Ferrari among Fiats.