Major League Soccer (MLS) continues to climb up the list of the best leagues in the world, largely as a credit to success in the Leagues Cup. In August 2023, British sports analytics company Opta ranked MLS the 29th strongest division in the world of soccer. By the fall, MLS halved that ranking to reach No. 15 in the world. Now, as Major League Soccer enters its second full season of its Apple TV deal, it keeps rising against the competition.

As of March 2024, Opta ranks Major League Soccer No. 10 worldwide. Falling out of the top 10 to make room for MLS are the Swiss Super League and the Eredivisie. Opta calculates this ranking by using the Elo-ranking system, which does its best to compare teams from different divisions. According to this Opta ranking, Major League Soccer has done well enough in cross-border competition, while staying balanced on home turf, to climb up the rankings.

That includes jumping Mexico’s Liga MX, which has held dominance in the Opta rankings for some time. Now, Major League Soccer is the highest-rated league in North America. Moreover, it is the second highest-rated league outside of Europe, with the Brasileirao edging MLS for the ninth spot in the world rankings.

  1. Premier League (ENG)
  2. LaLiga (ESP)
  3. Serie A (ITA)
  4. Bundesliga (GER)
  5. Ligue 1 (FRA)
  6. Belgian Pro League (BEL)
  7. Primeira Liga (POR)
  8. Superligaen (DEN)
  9. Brasileirao (BRA)
  10. Major League Soccer (USA)

How MLS clubs stack up amongst the strongest leagues in the world

Yet, it is not an MLS club to top the rankings of clubs in North America. Instead, that title belongs to Club America and Monterrey, which are 87th and 96th, respectively, among the list of clubs in the world. The top MLS club is the reigning MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew, which ranks 139th in the world.

Therefore, if you are curious how MLS could rank higher than Liga MX, the average club in Liga MX is lower than Major League Soccer. In a combined table with of the Opta rankings between the two divisions, 13 of the top 20 clubs in terms of ranking hail from the United States. Likewise, three of the bottom four clubs in this hypothetical table come from Mexico. Opta ranks Juarez and Puebla below Toronto FC, which is considerably lower than the next-worst MLS club, the San Jose Earthquakes.

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Comparing MLS to the Saudi Pro League

Much of the focus on Major League Soccer, and certainly something that bolstered the league, was the arrival of Lionel Messi. Now playing in his first full season with Inter Miami, Messi is making his presence felt. However, he still draws comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo. Consequently, that compares MLS to the Saudi Pro League.

The Saudi Public Investment fund clubs of Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad, and Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr all rank higher than any MLS club. The bottom Saudi Pro League clubs are lower than the bottom MLS clubs, and that drags down the Saudi Pro League’s average. As a result, MLS ranks higher in the Opta rankings.