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Inter Miami's Messi tops MLS highest-paid list at $20.4m - ESPN

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi is Major League Soccer's highest paid player with a total guaranteed compensation of $20.45 million, according to data released by the MLS Players Association.

The amount reflects just the playing portion of Messi's compensation, with the Argentine also set to benefit from other revenue streams such as his endorsement deal with Adidas and a revenue sharing agreement with league broadcast partner Apple.

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According to Sportico, Messi stands to earn up to $150m over the life of the two-and-a-half year contract he signed with Miami and MLS last year.

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne ranked second with a guaranteed compensation of $15.44m, followed by Messi's Inter Miami teammate Sergio Busquets at $8.77m.

Chicago Fire forward Xherdan Shaqiri, the league's top earner at this time a year ago, is in fourth position at $8.15m followed by Austin FC forward Sebastián Driussi at $6.72m.

The salary numbers from the MLSPA are as of April 25, 2024.

The extent of Miami's spending spree is borne out when one looks at the total guaranteed compensation per team.

The Herons checked in at a staggering $41.68m which is not only a league record, but more than double the amount of all but three other teams.

Toronto's outlay is $31.41m followed by Chicago at $25.13m, Nashville SC at $21.4m and FC Cincinnati — last year's Supporters' Shield winners — at $18.71m.

Reigning MLS Cup holders the Columbus Crew rank 21st with a payroll of $15.19m while St. Louis City ($11.79m) and CF Montréal ($12.05m) have the lowest payrolls.

The average guaranteed compensation for the entire player pool is $594,390, up 12.4% from the spring, 2023 mark of $528,984.

In a sign of how