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Highest Paid Players in MLS History Revealed

With a break in play from this season's Major League Soccer schedule, we've decided to use our time wisely. Doing what we do best and delving into the history books, the topic of today's article is the highest-paid players in MLS history. Put another way. They are the most prominent names ever to have graced US soccer. 

We've seen many European, African, and South American soccer stars come to look to the MLS for one final payday only to fall in love with the nation's top league, its fans, and the American way of life. David Beckham is the most famous example, signing for LA Galaxy in a multi-million-dollar deal. "Golden Balls" has remained in MLS, of course, and now has a stake in Inter Miami.

Who will be the next big name to move to this rapidly improving and cash-rich competition? Major sportsbooks offer odds on where Lionel Messi will go after leaving Paris, and Miami is the hot favorite with those who enjoy betting on MLS.

Before the Little Magician arrives and starts tearing up the competition, let's remind ourselves of other big names that have caused owners to break the bank.

Lorenzo Insigne

The star of the show in MLS is Italian scorer Lorenzo Insigne who smashed the previous record for the highest-paid player by almost double. And he's worth every penny, too, with Toronto splashing the cash on a 32-year-old that's still good enough to cut it in most European leagues and with dozens of famous clubs.

Critics suggested Lorenzo moving to Toronto while he still as a lot to offer in Italy's Serie A or even the English Premier League was a lack of ambition. But he's highly well-paid, continues to perform at a high level, and has been scoring goals for fun. 

Capped ten times by his country, Insigne netted nine times in his first 24 games. Keep your eyes peeled as Lorenzo will continue to rack up the goals and wins this term. A four-year contract in Toronto guarantees a minimum of $14 million if he lasts that long.

Xhwerdan Shaqiri 

Former Liverpool favorite Xhwerdan Shaqiri was a big hit at Anfield, meaning he caused a bit of a stir when moving to MLS and Chicago Fire. The Switzerland cap held the record as the highest-paid MLS player for a short stint, but it didn't take long for him to lose the top spot. Soccer teams are spending big to attract the best names.

Chicago paid a transfer fee of $7.5 million to secure his services following a disappointing stay in French Ligue 1, where he failed to set the heather alight at Lyon. Shaqiri hit the ground running, scoring seven goals and providing six assists in his debut season gave fans a taste of what to expect, and the player has more in his locker.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Do they come any bigger than Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Not in his world, that's for sure. The big striker is a world-famous star who is intelligent and experienced enough to know his best playing days are behind him. 

He's in the United States to make serious cash before retiring, and his goalscoring ensured a long list of teams happy to oblige. His stay at LA Galaxy was like something out of Hollywood when he netted over 40 yards on his debut. That's some way to announce your arrival. Zlatan bagged just over $7 million for his services to MLS.


Kaka wasn't far behind the top three, nudged into fourth place with a $6.66 million bounty. The Ballon d'Or winner arrived at Orlando City with a considerable reputation, but it quickly became apparent that his best days had come and gone. The Brazilian failed to make an impact, blaming injuries and a loss of enjoyment for soccer.

Steven Gerrard

The former England and Liverpool captain won the Scottish Premiership title with Glasgow Rangers before swapping Govan for Aston Villa in the English Premier League. But before he was a first-team coach, Stevie played in the MLS, where he pocketed $6.30 million. 

That's more than fellow England midfielder Frank Lampard made stateside. Where will Gerrard's journey take him next? Perhaps a return to the US as a manager?

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