Los Angeles Galaxy superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic will earn $7.2 million this season, the most in MLS history.
Data provided by the MLS Players Association confirmed a Los Angeles Times report from the winter that the Swedish forward’s contract jumped from $1.5 million in 2018, beating former Orlando City forward Kaka ($7.167 million in 2017).
Last year, the Galaxy was limited in what it could pay Ibrahimovic because the team’s three designated-player slots already were occupied. In 1½ seasons, he has posted 33 goals and 13 assists in 39 league matches.
Of the 691 players on MLS’s centralized payroll this year, 54 (or 7.8 percent) are earning at least $1 million.
Other top contracts include:
Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley: $6.428 million
Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore: $6.332 million
Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela: $6.3 million
Chicago Fire defender Bastian Schweinsteiger: $5.6 million
Montreal Impact forward Ignacio Piatti: $4.443 million
D.C. United forward Wayne Rooney: $3.507 million
Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez: $3.058 million
Also, the Galaxy bought out Giovani dos Santos’s contract ($6.5 million).
The average base salary for senior-roster, non-designated players is $345,867, up 13.3 percent, according to the MLSPA. Over five years, that figure has grown 150 percent. The minimum salary for players on the supplemental roster is $70,250, while those on the reserve roster make at least $56,250.
With the collective bargaining agreement expiring after this season, salaries will be a prime topic during negotiations, which are expected to accelerate this fall.
"As the league grows and revenues increase, it’s critical that we see this kind of continued investment in player compensation up and down the roster,” MLSPA executive director Bob Foose said in a written statement. “Players are the heart of MLS, and if MLS is to become the league of choice that it aspires to be, it needs to keep pace in an increasingly competitive market for players, both domestic and international. We feel good about these trends, and we expect to see them continue.”
With one million-dollar player, D.C. United continues to have one of MLS’s lowest-paid rosters:
Through arrangements set before United acquired McCann, Seitz and Pedroso, other teams are responsible for an unspecified share of their contracts.
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