Los Angeles (AFP) – Brazilian star Kaka is the highest paid player in Major League Soccer, topping the earnings rankings ahead of Italy international Sebastian Giovinco and United States captain Michael Bradley, figures showed Thursday.
Former world footballer of the year Kaka, who plays for Florida club Orlando City, led the earnings with a guaranteed salary of $7,167,500 (6,336,070 euros), just ahead of Toronto FC’s Giovinco, second with $7,115,556.
US international skipper Bradley, who also plays with Toronto, was third with wages of $6.5 million.
High-profile overseas stars who have joined the MLS in recent years were the next to feature on the list, with Los Angeles Galaxy’s Steven Gerrard fourth ($6,132,500), ahead of New York City FC trio Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa.
Lampard, whose New York career has been plagued by injury since his arrival last year, earns $6 million, while Pirlo was just behind on $5.9 million.
Spanish World Cup winner Villa takes home around $5.6 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were Toronto’s American international Jozy Altidore ($4.8 million), Seattle’s Clint Dempsey ($4.6 million) and Los Angeles Galaxy’s Mexican striker Giovani dos Santos ($4.25 million).
The list of salaries sheds interesting light on the vast disparities that exist between the league’s best-paid players and those at the other end of the scale.
The lowest paid player in the league according to the figures is Montreal’s Belizean forward Michael Salazar.
The 23-year-old earns $51,492 a year — less than three days wages for best-paid player Kaka.
Unsurprisingly, the highest salaries in the MLS pale beside the wages of the world’s best players.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi earns $71 million a year while Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo rakes in $59 million, according to figures on the Business Insider website.
The highest MLS salaries are also comfortably eclipsed by the vast sums being paid by clubs in the Chinese Super League, whose teams splurged a record $278 million in the most recent transfer window.
Argentinian international Ezequiel Lavezzi joined Hebei China Fortune from Paris Saint-Germain on an annual salary of $16.8 million while Colombian international Jackson Martinez reportedly earns $14 million a year with Guangzhou Evergrande.