Messi exceeds any salary of a player in the MLS

NEW YORK-. The annualized salary of Lionel Messi of his contract with Major League Soccer with the Inter Miami is just over $20.4 million in its first full season, surpassing the payrolls of every team in the league except three other teams.

Messi joined Inter Miami last summer and has a base salary of $10.4 million and annualized compensation of $20,446,667, the MLS Players Association said Thursday in its first salary release of 2024.

Those figures cover what Messi receives from his MLS contract, which runs through the 2025 season, including any marketing bonuses and agent fees. They do not take into account any additional agreements with the team or its affiliates, nor any performance bonuses.

Messi, who will turn 37 next month, has 10 goals this season, one shy of the MLS lead.

Miami leads the league with a payroll of $41.7 million, double except for Toronto ($31.4 million) and Chicago ($25.1 million). The Nashville roster, with $21.4 million, also earns more than Messi.

Messi's teammates include midfielder Sergio Busquets ($8,774,996) and forward Luis Suárez and left back Jordi Alba ($1.5 million each).

St. Louis has the lowest payroll among the 29 teams at $12 million, just below Salt Lake and San Jose at $13.6 million each.

The LA Galaxy reduced payroll from $23.5 million at the beginning of last year to $17.9 million and Atlanta from $21.3 million to $16.7 million. Toronto increased payroll from a league-high $25.7 million in 2023 opener and Nashville increased from $14 million.

Toronto winger Lorenzo Insigne is second in compensation with $15.4 million, followed by Busquets, Chicago midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri with $8,153,000, Austin midfielder Sebastian Driussi with $6,722,500, Toronto winger Federico Bernardeschi with $6,295,381 and New York Red Bulls midfielder Emil Forsberg with $6,035,625.

Among this year's MLS newcomers are Chicago forward Hugo Cuypers ($3,528,044) and LAFC goalkeeper Hugo Lloris ($350,000).

The average base salary of $513,075 for high-level players, not including designated players who count only partially against a team's salary cap, increased 8.4% from $473,292 at the beginning of last year. Total guaranteed compensation averaged $594,389.

Total compensation for all players signed was $519 million, up 12.8% from $460 million at the start of last season and $394 million at the start of 2022.

Among US national team players, Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman had total compensation of $3,456,979, Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira $2,204,000, Seattle winger Jordan Morris $1,693,750, Colorado midfielder Djordje Mihailovic $1,675,000, Cincinnati defender Miles Robinson $1,578,580, Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan $1,541,000 and Cincinnati right back DeAndre Yedlin $898,750.