Kaka, Frank Lampard Among MLS' Highest-Paid Players for 2016-17 Season
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MLS News
Thursday, 19 May 2016 11:28

Orlando City's Kaka ($7.167 million) and Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco ($7.115 million) are the MLS' highest-paid players in the 2016-17 season, the MLS Players Union (via Steven Goff of the Washington Post) revealed Thursday.

Toronto FC's Michael Bradley ($6.5 million), the Los Angeles Galaxy's Steven Gerrard ($6.132 million) and New York City FC's Frank Lampard ($6 million) round out the top five.

The majority of the remaining top earners in the MLS are either stars on the United States men's national team (Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard) or former stars in Europe (Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, Robbie Keane, Didier Drogba). 

That trend is likely to continue, as stars from Europe continue to trickle into the MLS at the end of their careers to earn big contracts before retiring while the MLS budget continues to grow. The latest European star who is rumored to make the jump to MLS is PSG superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, per Loic Tanzi of Goal.com, and Ibra would surely become the league's highest earner upon his arrival.

According to Tanzi, "It has also been reported that Ibrahimovic has a concrete proposal from MLS worth $580,000 per week—the same figure that he earns in Paris."

While Ibra would likely garner a small fortune if he made the leap to American soil, six teams—FC Dallas, D.C. United, the Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City, the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union—do not have a single player who is earning $1 million or more this season.

Of that bunch, the Union have been notoriously frugal. Their payroll this season is $5.67 million, according to Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly Sport, which means six MLS players alone are making more this season than the Union are spending on their entire team payroll.

Tannenwald shared more information on team salaries:

Giovinco, meanwhile, has been worth every penny for Toronto FC. The 2015 league MVP led the MLS in both goals (22) and assists (16) last season and has continued his strong play in 2016, scoring eight goals and adding five assists in 11 games this season.

Last year's champions, the Portland Timbers, have just one player in the league's top 20 earners. Liam Ridgewell, the team's captain and star defender, is earning $1.25 million this year, the 19th-highest wage in the league.


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