REVEALED: The highest MLS salaries eclipse those seen in Liga MX

Major League Soccer and Mexico’s Liga MX will long be battling for the tag of the best domestic league in the CONCACAF and if player salaries are anything to go by, MLS is winning the battle.

Liga MX has long been considered the superior league, in terms of player quality and business, as well as the fact that the league has seemed to attract the ‘big’ names ahead of MLS in recent years.

But that is changing and changing fast. MLS is growing at an unprecedented level and the 2015 season will be the league’s biggest and best ever as 20 teams will take part for the first time ever and international stars such as Kaka, David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco will grace the league with their quality.

If player salaries are anything to go by, the MLS is now the superior domestic league in the CONCACAF as a list of the top ten highest paid players in Liga MX has been released by Forbes Mexico:

 Player  Club  Annual Base Salary
 Roque Santa Cruz  Cruz Azul  2.6 million USD
 Oribe Peralta  Club America  2.5 million USD
 Darwin Quintero  Club America 1.8 million USD
 Ronaldinho  Queretaro  1.8 million USD
 Angel Reyna  Chivas  1.7 million USD
 Jesus Corona Cruz Azul 1.5million USD
 Marco Fabian  Chivas  1.5 million USD
 Paulo da Silva  Toluca  1.2 million USD
 Dorlan Pabon  Monterrey  1.2 million USD
Mauro Boselli Leon  1.1 million USD

Roque Santa Cruz is the highest paid player in Liga MX, earning 2.6 million dollars annually but that is just a fraction of what Major League Soccer’s highest paid player Sebastian Giovinco is set to earn in 2015 following his move from Juventus this winter.

Giovinco is expected to earn around $7 million in his debut campaign in MLS while fellow newcomer Kaka is set to earn $6.6 million as a base salary.

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Below is a list of MLS players anticipated salaries for 2015. Most are according to the MLS Players’ Union while the salary of Steven Gerrard is based on reported figures. Frank Lampard’s projected salary with New York City FC has not been revealed, though he would likely make the top ten in earnings this year.

It is clear to see that the best players in MLS are earning significantly more than those in Liga MX as a base salary:

 Player  Club  Annual Base Salary
Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC  7.0 million USD
 Kaka  Orlando City SC  6.6 million USD
 David Villa New York City FC 6.0 million USD
 Michael Bradley Toronto FC  6.0 million USD
 Jozy Altidore Toronto FC  6.0 million USD
Clint Dempsey Seattle Sounders 4.9 million USD
Robbie Keane LA Galaxy  4.5 million USD
Steven Gerrard LA Galaxy 4.0 million USD
Jermaine Jones New England Revolution  3.0 million USD
Obafemi Martins Seattle Sounders  1.6 million USD

It says a lot that the ninth-highest paid player in MLS, Jermaine Jones would be the highest paid player in Liga MX with his base salary of around $3 million per year.

The Designated Player rule in the United States means a small fraction of players can earn the huge wages seen above, but Liga MX players still earn better salaries on average league-wide.

A report last November revealed players in Mexico would earn an average of $410,139 per season compared to $209,906 per year in MLS on average.

On the field, an MLS side has yet to win the CONCACAF Champions League since the tournament’s inception in 2009.

A Liga MX club has won each year since then, with Monterrey the most successful team with three Champions League titles in six years.

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Real Salt Lake came closest when they reached the final in 2011 but ultimately lost to Monterrey on that occasion.

Things could now be swinging in the favour of MLS though as the rapidly growing league continues to rise on and off the field.

Which league would you class as the best – MLS or Liga MX?


7 thoughts on “REVEALED: The highest MLS salaries eclipse those seen in Liga MX

  1. Pingback: Giovani dos Santos ganaría más que Kaká y Gerrard - #FTFutbol Total

  2. That’s why everyone famous wants to play in Liga MX, right? Lol. MLS has surpassed MX with most criteria. Did that a while back. Keep patting yourself on the back and maybe you can keep believing your own story.

  3. The total value- and payroll- of Liga MX teams is extremely spread out. Your newly promoted teams are valued at less than 50 million dollars, there’s a group of yo-yo teams in the 75 million range, your mid-table teams are valued at 100 to 150 million, and you don’t get over 200 million until you’re looking at the top 4 teams. Then of course Club America is valued over 600 million. Without there being a salary cap or luxury tax. So of course the top 4 teams or so in Mexico are basically the Mexican all star teams.

    MLS is a lot more compact, and no group of teams is running away from the others in total valuation. It used to be that all MLS teams, ranked by value, would have been just below mid-table in Liga MX. That’s when the average value of an MLS team was less than 100 million, and the range from high to low was a lot tighter. Now MLS has a new media rights deal, new stadiums are being built, the league is expanding from 20 to 22 (and then 24 soon enough), and the average valuation of MLS clubs is closer to 200 million. Still though, the range from high to low is really tight. The least valuable MLS team is now more valuable than over half the Liga MX table, and while there used to be four or five Liga MX teams that were ahead of every MLS team as little as three years ago, that has changed as well- the second highest valued Mexican club is just ahead of the highest valued MLS clubs, and only Club America remains well out of everyone’s range.

    It might take a few more years, but just wait until MLS has expanded to its full size and has reached something closer to full maturity. There will come a time when there’s 32 teams in MLS compared to (still) 18 in Liga MX. All 32 of those teams will be more valuable than at least 10 of those Mexican clubs, and probably more than that. And by the time this happens, only one Mexican club will have the value or the revenue to compete financially in the middle of the MLS table, while less than a handful of other Mexican clubs would be toward the bottom. At this point in time, Liga MX is paying the salaries of 26 players who competed in the 2014 World Cup. MLS has 24, as of the most recent numbers I could find. Imagine what those figures will look like once MLS has added 10 or 12 more teams with up to 30 additional DP slots being filled at any given time, and all those teams can compete financially at the top end of what any Mexican club is able to do. The time is coming when 30 or more heavy hitters from the US will be scouring the world for big-money talent, and when that time comes it will still be just a handful of Mexican clubs that are able to do it at that level.

    You see, there is a bit of a competitive advantage that Mexico can enjoy at this time. All the talent in their league is focused and concentrated on just a few teams. These are the only teams that MLS clubs ever play in meaningful tournaments, so what do you think is going to happen when MLS clubs have such a weird single-entity system and talent is so spread out? But MLS as a whole is coming for that small handful of clubs, they’re All coming and when the switch is flipped, All of MLS will clearly and definitively overtake the very best clubs in Liga MX. And once that happens, there’s no going back. You cannot un-flip this kind of switch, MLS is only going to dominate the North American market and become the destination of choice for all of the Americas. And there sure will be a wealth of high-quality super-competitive teams for players to join, it’s not as if there will just be a few teams that South American talent could look at.

    This is the US, baby. When we do sports, we do it big, and we’re just getting started with MLS.

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