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Highest-paid MLS Players of 2023

Last Updated: May 17, 2023
From Insigne to Chicharito to Shaqiri and beyond, find out who owns the title of highest-paid MLS player for the 2023 soccer season.

May 16 marked what is essentially Christmas morning for those attuned to the wild world of Major League Soccer economics. As is its annual tradition, the MLS Players Association revealed its 2023 Salary Guide compiling this year’s base salaries and total effective compensation figures for all 869 of the league’s players as of April 30.

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

Notably, the highest-paid player by total guaranteed salary is the same guy who won it last year — a square-shaped man whose past career stops include relatively recent league champions in Germany, Italy, and England (scroll down if you’re wiggling in your seat with feverish impatience). While other familiar names are to be found on this year’s list — Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Carlos Vela, Josef Martínez, and Nicolás Lodeiro are all here, along with a sprinkling of US National Team talents — a number of well-known league debutantes have crashed the gates of the money rankings for the very first time, including Toronto FC teammates and Italian countrymen Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi.

All told, that extra jolt propelled the Reds of Toronto to No. 1 in the pecking order of team-by-team MLS salary spending for the year; they’re one of four teams to spend more than $20 million on annual player salaries as of this writing.

No more parking the bus — let’s get to the numbers and reveal the honor roll of highest-paid MLS players of 2023.

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Highest-paid MLS Players of 2023

Dollar figures reflect guaranteed compensation as listed by the MLSPA as of April 30, 2023. Numbers 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: 31
  • Nationality: Switzerland
  • Arrived from: Olympiquie Lyonnais (France), 2022

2. Toronto FC F Lorenzo Insigne: $7,500,000

  • Age: 31
  • Nationality: Italy
  • Arrived from: Napoli (Italy), 2022

3. LA Galaxy F Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez: $7,443,750

  • Age: 34
  • Nationality: Mexico
  • Arrived from: Sevilla (Spain), 2020

4. Toronto FC M/F Federico Bernardeschi: $6,295,381

  • Age: 29
  • Nationality: Italy
  • Arrived from: Juventus (Italy), 2022

5. Austin FC F Sebastián Driussi: $6,022,500

  • Age: 27
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Arrived from: Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia), 2021

6. Houston Dynamo M Héctor Herrera: $5,246,875

7. LA Galaxy F Douglas Costa: $4,508,333

  • Age: 32
  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Arrived from: Juventus (Italy), 2022

8. Atlanta United F Luiz Araújo: $4,483,333

  • Age: 26
  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Arrived from: Lille (France), 2021

9. DC United F Christian Benteke: $4,432,778

  • Age: 32
  • Nationality: Belgium
  • Arrived from: Crystal Palace (England), 2022

10. Inter Miami F Josef Martínez: $4,391,667

  • Age: 29
  • Nationality: Venezuela
  • Arrived from: Torino (Italy), 2017

11. Columbus Crew M Lucas Zelarayán: $3,800,000

  • Age: 31
  • Nationality: Armenia (via Argentina)
  • Arrived from: Tigres (Mexico), 2020

12. New England Revolution M Carles Gil: $3,545,833

  • Age: 30
  • Nationality: Spain
  • Arrived from: Deportivo La Coruña (Spain), 2019

13. Inter Miami M Rodolfo Pizarro: $3,350,000

  • Age: 29
  • Nationality: Mexico
  • Arrived from: Monterrey (Mexico), 2020

14. LAFC F Carlos Vela: $3,337,500

  • Age: 34
  • Nationality: Mexico
  • Arrived from: Real Sociedad (Spain), 2018

15. Seattle Sounders M Nicolás Lodeiro: $3,256,667

  • Age: 34
  • Nationality: Uruguay
  • Arrived from: Boca Juniors (Argentina), 2016

16. Seattle Sounders F Raúl Ruidíaz: $3,201,120

  • Age: 32
  • Nationality: Peru
  • Arrived from: Morelia (Mexico), 2018

17. Nashville SC M Hany Mukhtar: $3,188,750

  • Age: 28
  • Nationality: Germany
  • Arrived from: Brøndby

18. New England Revolution F Jozy Altidore: $2,939,963

19. Columbus Crew F Cucho Hernández: $2,886,000

  • Age: 24
  • Nationality: Colombia
  • Arrived from: Watford (England), 2022

20. New England Revolution F Gustavo Bou: $2,675,000

  • Age: 33
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Arrived from: Club Tijuana (Mexico), 49

Other Notable 2023 MLS Salaries

22. Atlanta United M/F Thiago Almada: $2,332,000
t-26. Atlanta United M/F Esequiel Barco: $2,200,000
t-26. Sporting KC F Alan Pulido: $2,200,000
28. FC Cincinnati M Luciano Acosta: $2,166,983
34. Nashville SC D Walker Zimmerman: $2,056,979
39. FC Dallas F Jesús Ferreira: $1,852,000
43. Columbus Crew M Darlington Nagbe: $1,800,000
44. CF Montreal M Victor Wanyama: $1,800,000
49. LA Galaxy M Riqui Puig: $1,732,500
50. FC Dallas M Paul Arriola: $1,729,400
57. Seattle Sounders F Jordan Morris: $1,560,000
62. Seattle Sounders M Cristian Roldán: $1,441,000

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