Fire's Shaquiri becomes MLS's highest-paid at nearly $8.2M
Chicago Fire's Xherdan Shaqiri runs during an MLS soccer match, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale. Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray, File)
Ronald Blum, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, May 17, 2022 6:02PM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) - Chicago Fire midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is Major League Soccer's highest-paid player, jumping past Los Angeles FC attacker Carlos Vela and breaking Zlatan Ibrahimovi's league record.
The 30-year-old Swiss international, who joined Chicago this season from Lyon, has a base salary of $7.35 million and total compensation of $8,153,000, according to figures released Tuesday by the Major League Soccer Players Association.
He is expected to be passed by Italian winger Lorenzo Insigne, who joins Toronto this summer from Napoli.
IbrahimoviÄ‡ had the previous high of $7.2 million with the LA Galaxy in 2019.
Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez began this season in second at $6 million and Inter Miami striker Gonzalo Higuain third with a $5.1 million base and $5,793,750 in total compensation.
Toronto midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo is fourth ($3.8 million, $4,693,000), followed by New England forward Jozy Altidore ($3,706,139 $4,264,963), Atlanta forward Josef Martinez ($3.75 million, $4,141,667), Vela ($2.25 million, $4.05 million), Atlanta midfielder/forward Luiz Araujo ($3.6 million, $3,941,667), Columbus midfielder Lucas Zelarayan ($3.1 million, $3.7 million) and New England midfielder Carles Gil ($3,25 million, $3,545,833).
Atlanta has the highest payroll, with guaranteed compensation of $20,999,272, followed by the Galaxy at $20,128,040, Miami at $18,882,628 and New England at $18,141,886.
Salt Lake is last at $10,477,859, with Charlotte at $10,708,858.
In all, league payrolls totaled just under $394 million.
The union said the average for senior roster players, not including designated players who count only partly under a team's salary cap, increased by 10.3% to $438,728 from $397,753 in 2021.
Ninety-one players have total compensation of $1 million or more and 242 of $500,000 or more.
Among players in the U.S. national team player pool, Columbus forward Gyasi Zardes is 46th ($1.5 million, $1.55 million), Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira 51st ($1.3 million, $1,499,000), Seattle midfielder Jordan Morris 54th ($1.25 million, $1,370,100), Los Angeles FC midfielder Kellyn Acosta 64th ($1.1 million, $1,215,000), Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman 70th ($1.1 million, $1,156,050), Dallas winger Paul Arriola 76th ($1.1 million, $1.13 million), New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long 80th ($1.05 million, $1.08 million), New England midfielder Sebastian Lletget 89th ($900,000, $1,023,750), Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan 93rd ($860,000, $981,542), Miami defender DeAndre Yedlin 117th ($800,000, $848,750) and injured Atlanta defender Miles Robinson 141st ($700,000, $737,500), D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid tied for 152nd ($700,000), New York City goalkeeper Sean Johnson tied for 217th ($550,000) and Atlanta defender Brooks Lennon and New England goalkeeper Matt Turner tied for 239th ($500,000).
Turner has an agreement to transfer to Arsenal this summer.
Gabriel Slonina, the 18-year-old Chicago goalkeeper eligible to play for the U.S. and Poland, is 503rd with a $143,000 base and $147,800 total compensation after making his MLS debut last August.
MLS's minimum salary for the first 24 players on each team's roster is $84,000 and players in slots 25-28 have a reserve minimum of $65,500.