Orlando City's Kaka ($7.167 million) and Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco ($7.115 million) are the highest-paid players in MLS in the 2016-17 season, the MLS Players Union (via Steven Goff of the Washington Post) revealed Thursday.
The majority of the remaining top earners in MLS are either stars on the United States men's national team (Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard) or former stars in Europe (Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, Robbie Keane, Didier Drogba).
That trend is likely to continue, as stars from Europe continue to trickle into MLS at the end of their careers to earn big contracts before retiring while the MLS budget continues to grow. The latest European star who is rumored to make the jump to MLS is Paris Saint-Germain superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, per Loic Tanzi of Goal.com, and Ibra would surely become the league's highest earner upon his arrival.
According to Tanzi, "It has also been reported that Ibrahimovic has a concrete proposal from MLS worth $580,000 per week—the same figure that he earns in Paris."
While Ibra would likely garner a small fortune if he made the leap to American soil, six teams—FC Dallas, D.C. United, the Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City, the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union—do not have a single player who is earning $1 million or more this season.
Of that bunch, the Union have been notoriously frugal. Their payroll this season is $5.67 million, according to Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly Sport, which means six MLS players alone are making more this season than the Union are spending on their entire team payroll.
Tannenwald shared more information on team salaries:
Jonathan Tannenwald @thegoalkeeper
Average MLS salary: $316,768.32 (up $24,834.97 from the last data set) Median MLS salary: $117,250.00 (up $5,250.00 from the last data set)2016-5-19 15:23:25
Giovinco, meanwhile, has been worth every penny for Toronto FC. The 2015 league MVP led MLS in both goals (22) and assists (16) last season and has continued his strong play in 2016, scoring eight goals and adding five assists in 11 games this season.
Last year's champions, the Portland Timbers, have just one player in the league's top 20 earners. Liam Ridgewell, the team's captain and star defender, is earning $1.25 million this year, the 19th-highest wage in the league.
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