Orlando's Kaka tops MLS salary list, Bastian Schweinsteiger 7th at $5.4m
Orlando City's Kaka remains the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer, according to data released by the players' union on Tuesday.
MLS and its clubs do not reveal salary information when announcing contracts, and the information is only confirmed by the union twice each year.
Kaka, who was injured in the opening minutes of the season, tops the 2017 list as he has every year since 2014 at $7.167 million in total compensation, just $52,000 more than the second-highest paid player, Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco.
Bastian Schweinsteiger will make $5.4m in his first year with the Chicago Fire, nearly a million dollars more than was initially reported. The former Manchester United and Bayern Munich midfielder ranks seventh among the league's best-paid players.
United States national team captain Michael Bradley, also of Toronto FC, remains third on the list at $6.5m.
Toronto FC, which has three players in the top 10, leads the league with a total of nearly $22.5m -- at a modest increase of $733,060 from last season -- though its wage bill is $4.6m more than the next highest team, New York City FC, which decreased its budget by $3.2m after the departures of Frank Lampard and Mix Diskerud.
NYCFC's Andrea Pirlo ($5.9m) and David Villa ($5.6m) each moved up two spots to fourth and fifth among players, following the retirements of Steven Gerrard, who made $6.1m with the LA Galaxy last year, and Lampard, who earned $6m.
LA's Giovani dos Santos saw his compensation increase by $1.25m to $5.5m, good for sixth-highest in the league. The raise took the Mexico international past U.S. stars Jozy Altidore of Toronto (eighth at $4.9m) and Seattle's Clint Dempsey, who at $3.9m is making $713,008 less than last season.
Diego Valeri is the other new entry into the top 10, as the Portland Timbers midfielder added an additional $2m to the $605,000 he made a year ago, after he signed a new contract last August.
Among other notable newcomers, Atlanta's Miguel Almiron is earning nearly $2.3m, with his teammate Josef Martinez bringing in just over $1m.
Romain Alessandrini, a budding star for the LA Galaxy, is making just under $2m after leaving Marseille, while the Vancouver Whitecaps are giving $1.8m to Fredy Montero, nearly $1m more than he made with the Seattle Sounders in 2013, his most recent season on the MLS books.
At 28, there are five more players making at least $1m in 2017 than last year. At the other end, though the MLS minimum salary increased $1,500 to $53,000, there are still 75 players making under $60,000.
The top six players each make more than the entire payrolls of four clubs -- Houston, Montreal, D.C. and Minnesota -- all of whom only pay their teams a little over $5m total. Those teams are also the only ones who don't pay any single player $800,000 or more.
Only seven of the 22 teams -- Toronto, NYCFC, Orlando, Chicago, LA, Portland and Seattle -- have player payrolls over $9m.
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