Miami Ace Makes More Than 25 MLS Teams

    Arguably the greatest player in the history of soccer, Lionel Messi, became a free agent after running down his Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) contract on June 30, 2023. Saudi Pro League heavyweights Al-Hilal were eager to land the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner. They even reportedly tabled a deal worth more than $1 billion to persuade Messi to join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia. However, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner turned them down, pledging allegiance to David Beckham’s Inter Miami instead.

    Messi is not earning nearly as much as he would have at Al-Hilal. However, his salary is still by far the highest in MLS. In fact, as per the data procured from the MLS Players Association (via The Athletic), he earns more than the entire payroll of 25 MLS teams.

    Lionel Messi Earns More Than 25 MLS Teams

    Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami on a two-and-a-half-year contract in July 2023. As per the aforementioned report, Messi agreed to a $20.4 million per year deal, becoming the highest-paid player in MLS history. His massive paycheque dwarves the entire payroll of 25 MLS teams, including some heavyweights.

    FC Cincinnati spend around $18.7 million on players over a year, whereas Austin FC’s total payroll expense stands at $18.4 million. Five-time MLS Cup winners LA Galaxy, meanwhile, spend only $17.9 million on player wages annually. MLS Cup 2023 finalists Los Angeles FC are also on the list, with their annual salary allocation hovering around $15.9 million.

    Lionel Messi Has Already Surpassed David Beckham’s Total MLS Earnings

    According to the MLS Players Association, only three players have earned more money during their entire MLS careers than Lionel Messi has in only two seasons. The Argentina icon has snagged $40,893,334 so far at Inter Miami, already surpassing David Beckham and Carlos Vela’s career earnings in the United States. Beckham, who had been MLS’ most high-profile signing before Messi came around, made $36.5 million in six seasons at LA Galaxy. Vela, on the other hand, earned $32,313,900 in six years at Los Angeles FC.

    Michael Bradley ($44.84 million), Lorenzo Insigne ($44.80 million), and Jozy Altidore ($42.43 million) are the only three players who have earned more than Messi in MLS history. Bradley featured in 11 MLS seasons. Insigne and Altidore, meanwhile, have spent three and 10 seasons, respectively. If Messi runs down his contract at Inter Miami, he will leave as MLS’ all-time highest earner.

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