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Highest-paid MLS Players of 2022

From Chicharito to Higuain to Shaqiri and beyond, Boardroom nails down the single highest-paid MLS player in the land for the 2022 soccer season.

It’s not exactly a news flash that Major League Soccer players make less than their counterparts in, say, England’s Premier League. In fact, right before the adoption of the league’s 2015 collective bargaining agreement with the MLS Players Association, the minimum salary in MLS was — wait for it! — $36,500.

Fortunately, much progress has been made since then; on Tuesday, the MLSPA unveiled its Annual Salary Release, including base salary and guaranteed compensation figures for every player in the league.

So, who’s the undisputed king of MLS salaries this year?

Well, as turns out, the single highest-paid MLS player here and now is Xherdan Shaqiri, the Switzerland international formerly of such clubs as Liverpool and Bayern Munich, who currently plies his trade for Chicago Fire — but as The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal notes, that won’t be the case once Italy national team star Lorenzo Insigne arrives from Napoli on a designated player contract, a salary cap exception that allows teams to spend above the typical wage threshold for as many as three players.

All told for 2022, the MLS minumum salary is $65,500 and the average MLS salary for non-designated players is $438,728, which represents an increase of $40,975 (10.3%) compared to a year ago. But naturally, you’re more interested in who’s joining Shaqiri on the Highest-paid MLS Players mountaintop.

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Who’s the Highest-paid MLS Player of 2022?

Dollar figures reflect guaranteed compensation as listed by the MLSPA. Figures may not fully reflect year-by-year salary bonus structure over the course of a given player’s contract.

1. Chicago Fire F Xherdan Shaqiri: $8,153,000
  • Age: 30
  • Nationality: Switzerland
  • Arrived from: Olympiquie Lyonnais (France), 2022
2. LA Galaxy F Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez: $6,000,000
  • Age: 33
  • Nationality: Mexico
  • Arrived from: Sevilla (Spain), 2020
3. Inter Miami F Gonzalo Higuain: $5,793,750
  • Age: 34
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Arrived from: Juventus (Italy), 2020
4. Toronto FC M Alejandro Pozuelo: $4,693,000
  • Age: 30
  • Nationality: Spain
  • Arrived from: Genk (Belgium), 2019
5. New England Revolution F Jozy Altidore: $4,264,963
  • Age: 32
  • Nationality: United States
  • Arrived from: Toronto FC, 2022
  • NOTE: As The Athletic notes, a majority of Altidore’s effective 2022 compensation is likely covered by Toronto FC under the terms of a contract buyout last season
6. Atlanta United F Josef Martinez: $4,141,667
  • Age: 28
  • Nationality: Venezuela
  • Arrived from: Torino (Italy), 2017
7. LAFC F Carlos Vela: $4,050,000
  • Age: 33
  • Nationality: Mexico
  • Arrived from: Real Sociedad (Spain), 2018
8. Atlanta United F Luiz Araújo: $3,941,667
  • Age: 25
  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Arrived from: Lille (France), 2021
9. Columbus Crew M Lucas Zelarayán: $3,700,000
  • Age: 29
  • Nationality: Armenia (via Argentina)
  • Arrived from: Tigres (Mexico), 2020
10. New England Revolution M Carles Gil: $3,545,833
  • Age: 29
  • Nationality: Spain
  • Arrived from: Deportivo La Coruña (Spain), 2019
11. Seattle Sounders M Nicolás Lodeiro: $3,256,667
  • Age: 33
  • Nationality: Uruguay
  • Arrived from: Boca Juniors (Argentina), 2016
12. FC Dallas F Franco Jara: $3,227,000
  • Age: 33
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Arrived from: Pachuca (Mexico), 2020
13. Seattle Sounders F Raúl Ruidíaz: $3,201,120
  • Age: 31
  • Nationality: Peru
  • Arrived from: Morelia (Mexico), 2018
14. CF Montréal M Victor Wanyama: $3,091,667
  • Age: 30
  • Nationality: Kenya
  • Arrived from: Tottenham Hotspur (England), 2020
15. LA Galaxy F Douglas Costa: $3,000,000
  • Age: 31
  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Arrived from: Juventus (Italy) on loan via Grêmio (Brazil)
  • NOTE: Costa will begin a new contract as a full LA Galaxy player when his six-month loan expires this fall
16. Minnesota United M Adrien Hunou: $2,687,702
  • Age: 28
  • Nationality: France
  • Arrived from: Rennes (France), 2021
17. New England Revolution F Gustavo Bou: $2,675,000
  • Age: 32
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Arrived from: Tijuana (Mexico), 2019
18. Chicago Fire M Gastón Giménez: $2,360,667
  • Age: 30
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Arrived from: Vélez Sarsfield (Argentina), 2020
19. Toronto FC D Carlos Salcedo: $2,351,000
  • Age: 28
  • Nationality: Mexico
  • Arrived from: Tigres (Mexico), 2022
20. Atlanta United M Thiago Almada: $2,332,000
  • Age: 21
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Arrived from: Vélez Sarsfield (Argentina), 2022
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