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Messi tops MLS salary list at US$20.45 million, Toronto's Insigne at US$15.4 million

Inter Miami's Lionel Messi passes the ball during MLS soccer action against CF Montreal in Montreal, Saturday, May 11, 2024. Messi continues to lead Major League Soccer, on the field and off, with a league-high $20,446,667 salary (all figures in U.S. dollars) this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Lionel Messi continues to lead Major League Soccer, on the field and off it, with a league-high salary of $20,446,977 (all figures in U.S. dollars) this season.

According to figures released Thursday by the MLS Players Association, the Argentine star is one of six Inter Miami players making a seven-figure salary or more.

The others are Sergio Busquets ($8.77 million), Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez ($1.5 million), Julian Gressel ($1.09 million) and Nicolas Freire ($1 million).

Lorenzo Insigne tops the Toronto FC payroll at $15.4 million, followed by fellow attacker Italian Federico Bernardeschi ($6.295 million) and Canadian fullback/wingback Richie Laryea ($1.21 million). Captain Jonathan Osorio, who restructured his contract to allow Laryea to take over his designated player status, is earning $836,369, down from $1.4 million last season.

The new salary figures show Toronto managed to bring in talent at modest pay this season with midfielder Matty Longstaff, formerly of England's Newcastle, at $216,375 and veteran defender Kevin Long (Birmingham) at $277,500. Honduran midfielder Deybi Flores is listed at $456,667.

Canadian forward Ayo Akinola, whose TFC contract was terminated by mutual agreement recently, was making $846,875.

Toronto rookie Tyrese Spicer, the top pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, is earning $73,901.

Several former TFC players continue to get paid in Jozy Altidore (who joined the New England Revolution after being bought out by Toronto in February 2022) at $2.42 million, Chris Mavinga (who played for the Los Angeles Galaxy most recently) at $702,500 and Adama Diomande (who was waived by Toronto in February) at $660,000.

All three are listed as "MLS pool players."

Scottish star Ryan Gauld tops the Vancouver Whitecaps payroll at $2.985 million, followed by midfielders Andres Cubas ($1.146 million) and Alessandro Schopf at $992,500. Canadian fullback Sam Adekugbe earns $913,000 and star striker Brian White $754,400.

Veteran midfielder Victor Wanyama is CF Montreal's highest-earner at $1.8 million, with forward Josef Martinez next at $1.309 million. Uruguayan forward Matias Coccaro makes $888,000.

Chicago attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, a Swiss international, is collecting $8.153 million while Austin attacking midfielder Sebastian Driussi earns $6.72 million, New York Red Bulls attacking midfielder Emil Forsberg $6.035 million, Houston midfielder Hector Herrera $5.25 million and Nashville playmaker Hany Mukhtar $5.21 million.

Other Canadians include Portland defender Kamal Miller ($767,500) and goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau ($618,333), New England midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye ($750,000), Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair ($481,875) and Nashville winger Jacob Shaffelburg ($395,000).

Minnesota forward Tani Oluwaseyi, who was born in Nigeria but came to Canada when he was 10, is a bargain at $89,716. He has four goals in his last six games.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2024

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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