It’s not just in the top European leagues where the amount of money being thrown about keeps on rising. For a number of years now the MLS has been branded with the reputation of being ‘a retirement home’ or the final destination for ageing stars looking for their last big payday. Times are changing, and although many of the stars in this list are in the twilight years of their career, some do not fit the trend and have moved to The US to revitalize their careers after stalling elsewhere.
For those not familiar with the MLS and its salary structure, it’s complicated but I’ll give you a brief overview. Each team has a salary cap which they are not allowed to go over. However teams have designated players slots, which were introduced when a certain David Beckham joined LA Galaxy back in 2007 with the aim of increasing the MLS’ ability to compete with other leagues to attract star players to the league. A designated player only counts as a wage of $400,000 to the salary cap, when in actual fact he could be on a salary that is much more than that. The rest of the salary is paid for by the league. Confused? I’m not surprised, it’s a ruling that most football fans don't really understand fully.
There are a couple of shocks in this list. In my opinion there are a few average players stealing a living in this league. Then again, there are a couple of former world beaters here too.
20 Federico Higuain - Columbus Crew - $1.175 million
19 Liam Ridgewell - Portland Timbers - $1.25 million
18 Pedro Morales - Vancouver Whitecaps - $1.258 million
17 Innocent Emeghara - San Jose Earthquakes - $1.3 million
16 Nelson Valdez - Seattle Sounders - $1.455 million
15 Juan Manuel Martinez - Real Salt Lake - $1.458 million
14 Shkelzen Gashi - Colorado Rapids - $1.668 million
13 Didier Drogba - Montreal Impact - $2.166 million
12 Tim Howard - Colorado Rapids - $2.575 million
11 Robbie Keane - LA Galaxy - $3.5 million
10 Giovani Dos Santos - LA Galaxy - $4.25 million
9 Clint Dempsey - Seattle Sounders - $4.605 million
8 Jozy Altidore - Toronto FC - $4.825 million
7 David Villa - NYC FC - $5.61 million
6 Andrea Pirlo - NYC FC - $5.915 million
5 Frank Lampard - NYC FC - $6 million
4 Steven Gerrard - LA Galaxy - $6.132 million
3 Michael Bradley - Toronto FC - $6.5 million
2 Sebastian Giovinco - Toronto FC - $7.115 million
1 Kaka - Orlando City - $7.167 million
The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner joined Orlando City as their first ever designated player back in 2015. In his debut season in the purple shirt of Orlando, the Brazilian scored 9 and assisted 6. Many will say that for the money that Kaka is paid, that return is quite simply not enough. Many will agree. Kaka has picked up a couple of injures at the start of the 2016 MLS season, but has managed two goals and two assists in 5 matches, the sort of return Orlando fans will be expecting to see for the remainder of the season.
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