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Fire’s Shaquiri becomes MLS’ highest-paid at nearly USD8.2M

NEW YORK (AP) – Chicago Fire midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is Major League Soccer’s (MLS) highest-paid player, jumping past Los Angeles FC attacker Carlos Vela and breaking Zlatan Ibrahimovi?’s league record.

The 30-year-old Swiss international, who joined Chicago this season from Lyon, has a base salary of USD7.35 million and total compensation of USD8,153,000, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Major League Soccer Players Association.

He is expected to be passed by Italian winger Lorenzo Insigne, who joins Toronto this summer from Napoli.

Ibrahimovi? had the previous high of USD7.2 million with the LA Galaxy in 2019.

Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez began this season in second at USD6 million and Inter Miami striker Gonzalo Higuaín third with a USD5.1 million base and USD5,793,750 in total compensation.

Chicago Fire’s Xherdan Shaqiri during an MLS match. PHOTO: AP

Toronto midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo is fourth (USD3.8 million, USD4,693,000), followed by New England forward Jozy Altidore (USD3,706,139, USD4,264,963), Atlanta forward Josef Martínez (USD3.75 million, USD4,141,667), Vela (USD2.25 million, USD4.05 million), Atlanta midfielder/forward Luiz Araújo (USD3.6 million, USD3,941,667), Columbus midfielder Lucas Zelarayán (USD3.1 million, USD3.7 million) and New England midfielder Carles Gil (USD3,25 million, USD3,545,833).

Atlanta has the highest payroll, with guaranteed compensation of USD20,999,272, followed by the Galaxy at USD20,128,040, Miami at USD18,882,628 and New England at USD18,141,886.

Salt Lake is last at USD10,477,859, with Charlotte at USD10,708,858.

In all, league payrolls totalled just under USD394 million.

The union said the average for senior roster players, not including designated players who count only partly under a team’s salary cap, increased by 10.3 per cent to USD438,728 from USD397,753 in 2021.

Ninety-one players have total compensation of USD1 million or more and 242 of USD500,000 or more. MLS’s minimum salary for the first 24 players on each team’s roster is USD84,000 and players in slots 25-28 have a reserve minimum of USD65,500.