Lionel Messi's $20.4M compensation with Inter Miami exceeds that of most MLS teams

Lionel Messi's annual salary from his Major League Soccer contract with Inter Miami was just over $20.4 million in his first full season, more than all but three other teams in the league combined.

Messi joined Inter Miami last summer and earned a base salary of $10.4 million and annual compensation of $20,446,667, the MLS Players Association said Thursday in its first salary release for 2024.

Those figures cover what Messi earns from his MLS contract, which runs through the 2025 season, including any marketing bonuses and agent fees. They do not account for any additional contracts or any performance bonuses with the team or its affiliates.

Messi, who turns 37 next month, has 10 goals this season, one shy of the MLS lead.

All but Toronto ($31.4 million) and Chicago ($25.1 million) double Miami leads the league with $41.7 million in payroll. Nashville's roster, at $21.4 million, earned more than Messi's.

Messi's teammates include midfielder Sergio Busquets ($8,774,996) and forward Luis Suarez and left back Jordi Alba ($1.5 million).

Among the 29 teams, St. Louis has the lowest payroll at $12 million, just below Salt Lake and San Jose at $13.6 million each.

LA Galaxy cut payroll from $23.5 million to $17.9 million at the start of last year and Atlanta from $21.3 million to $16.7 million. Toronto has a salary increase starting in 2023 from a league-high $25.7 million, and Nashville is up from $14 million.

Toronto winger Lorenzo Insigne is second in compensation at $15.4 million, followed by Busquets, Chicago midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri at $6,722,500, Austin midfielder Sebastian Drewsi at $6,722,500, Toronto winger Federico Barnfield at $6,722,500 and Forsberg at $6,035,625 .

Among this year's MLS newcomers are Chicago forward Hugo Kuipers ($3,528,044) and LAFC goalkeeper Hugo Lloris ($350,000).

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The average base salary of senior roster players was $513,075, which does not include designated players who only partially count under a team's salary cap, up 8.4% from $473,292 at the start of last year. Total guaranteed compensation averaged $594,389.

Total compensation for all signed players was $519 million, up 12.8% from $460 million at the start of last season and $394 million at the start of 2022.

Among US national team players, Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman's total compensation was $3,456,979, Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira $2,204,000, Seattle winger Jordan Morris $1,693,750, Colorado midfielder Djordje Mihailovic $1,056,979. 580, Seattle midfielder Christian Roldan $1.541,000 and Cincinnati right back DeAndre Yedlin $898,750.

Reporting by the Associated Press.

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