The league’s highest earners have been revealed after Major League Soccer released details of player salaries. Shockingly, of the $151 million spent on wages, the 20 best paid players Stateside account for 48%, or $73 million of that figure. Breaking that down further, 44% of that goes to the top five players, who earn $33 million between them.
These five players are Orlando City SC’s Kaká, Toronto FC duo Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley, LA Galaxy’s Steven Gerrard and New York City FC’s Frank Lampard, but are they worth the money that their respective clubs are forking out?
5. Frank Lampard
Despite impressing during the later stages of the 2015 season, in which he scored three and assisted two in just four matches, Lampard has yet to make an appearance so far in 2016 after a calf injury ruled him out of action during pre-season.
The lengthy injury could be a sign that age is finally starting to catch up with the goalscoring midfielder, who was prolific during his Chelsea days. He is still likely to make an impact upon returning to the NYC FC squad, but he has a lot to do to justify the $6 million that he will cost the club throughout 2016.
4. Steven Gerrard
Just ahead of his former-England team-mate with an annual salary of $6.13 million a year, Gerrard has also struggled to make the impact that was expected of him in the United States.
Considering Gerrard currently earns close to twice the amount of star striker Robbie Keane, who has been voted the club’s player of the season for four years in a row, it was clear that LA Galaxy expected big things from Gerrard. However, with poor form persisting throughout his stay, the former-Liverpool captain has ultimately lost the StubHub crowd, who will be hoping that he calls time on his career at the end of the season.
3. Michael Bradley
Major League Soccer’s most expensive player of all time, Bradley cost Toronto FC $10 million back in 2014, signing from Serie A side Roma despite interest from Premier League club Tottenham.
Bradley’s stats have hardly been spectacular since moving to MLS, with seven goals and five assists in just under two and a half years, but as captain of the United States national team, Bradley does the club plenty of good off of the pitch.
2. Sebastian Giovinco
With annual earnings of $7,115,556, Giovinco comes in just below Kaká as the league’s second highest earner. The former Juventus man’s career appeared to be on the decline when he departed European football for North America back in 2015, but his impact at the Canadian club has come as a huge shock.
With 30 goals in 44 appearances for the club, Giovinco is quickly becoming the face of MLS – somebody for players who are unsure about moving to the league to look to – and his cost is more than justified.
On a massive $7,167,500-a-year, Kaká is the highest paid player in MLS history. Signing a former Ballon d’Or winner unsurprisingly comes with a price tag and Orlando City SC knew that when they snapped up the former Real Madrid man.
The Brazilian was undoubtedly signed to sell merchandise, but he has still managed to make an impression on the field too. Thigh and groin injuries have hindered his 2016 campaign so far, but with two goals and two assists in five appearances, Kaká still has plenty to give. When he is on his game, Kaká can pick up points single-handedly, and with Orlando City struggling near the foot of the Eastern Conference, having won just two of their ten matches this season, they will be hoping that their star man returns to his best soon.