Ibrahimovic, Giovinco & Villa: How much are MLS's biggest names paid?

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The biggest names in MLS are often the largest earners, but not always! Check out what the league's biggest stars make annually

Major League Soccer's Players Union has released its annual salary figures for every player in the league, and the numbers might surprise some people.

Some of the league's biggest names are unsurprisingly among the top wage earners, but opinions may well vary as to who among those stars is most deserving of their salary.

And there is one rather large exception, as one player with a truly international brand seems to come in at a relative bargain.

Check out the salaries of 20 of MLS's most recognizable global stars below, with all figures from the MLSPA's total compensation numbers. 

  1. David Villa | New York City FC

    The fifth-highest earner in MLS, the former Barcelona and Spain star checks in at $5.6 million (£4.1m/€4.7m) per year in total compensation. 
  2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | LA Galaxy

    At $1.5 million (£1.1m/€1.3m), the former Manchester United, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax, Inter, AC Milan and Juventus star doesn't crack the top 25 in MLS salaries, a true bargain for the LA Galaxy. 

  3. Bastian Schweinsteiger | Chicago Fire

    The German World Cup winner comes in at $6.1 million (£4.5m/€5.1m), the fourth highest salary in the league. 

  4. Carlos Vela | Los Angeles FC

    Outside of Toronto FC, the Mexico star is the highest paid player in MLS at $6.3 million (£4.6m/€5.2m) per year. 

  5. Sebastian Giovinco | Toronto FC

    The highest earner in MLS, the former Juventus star will pull in $7.1 million (£5.2.m/€5.9m) this season. 

  6. Clint Dempsey | Seattle Sounders

    The former U.S. national team captain took a cut in pay in 2018, but still ranks among the 25 highest-paid players in the league at $1.7 million (£1.3m/€1.4m) this year. 

  7. Giovani dos Santos | LA Galaxy

    Another of Mexico's star names, the attacker is the second-highest paid North American on in the league at $6 million (£4.4m/€5m) in 2018.  

  8. Ashley Cole | LA Galaxy

    Once known as "Cashley", the former Arsenal and Chelsea star comes in at just $722,500 (£533,500,/€604,900) for 2018. 

  9. Ignacio Piatti | Montreal Impact

    The Argentine is an outlier in the official numbers, with a total compensation of $4.7 million (£3.5m/€3.9m) but a base salary of just $500,000 for 2018. 

  10. Miguel Almiron | Atlanta United

    Atlanta United's star man will make $2.3 million (£1.7m/€1.9m) in 2018, the 12th highest salary in the league. 

  11. Ezequiel Barco | Atlanta United

    Bought with the biggest transfer fee in MLS history, the teenager will make $1.4 million (£1m/€1.2m) for the 2018 season. 

  12. Jonathan dos Santos | LA Galaxy

    A substantial bargain compared to his brother, the midfielder will make $2 million (£1.5m/€1.7m) this season. 

  13. Tim Howard | Colorado Rapids

    Known for his time with Everton, Manchester United and the U.S. national team, the Rapids goalkeeper is the highest earner at his position in the league, and Colorado's best paid at $2.5 million (£1.8m/€2m).

  14. Josef Martinez | Atlanta United

    There may not be a better value in MLS than the Venezuelan, who will earn just $1.4 million (£1m/€1.2m) this season and currently leads the league in scoring. 

  15. Nicolas Lodeiro | Seattle Sounders

    The Uruguayan playmaker is now the top earner in Seattle, a traditional big-spender in MLS,total compensation of $2.3 million (£1.7m/€1.9m) this season. 

  16. Diego Valeri | Portland Timbers

    The reigning MLS MVP is the 10th highest-paid player in the league at $2.4 million (£1.8m/€2m) for the 2018 season. 

  17. Bradley Wright-Phillips | New York Red Bulls

    His coach believes he might be the best scorer in MLS history, making his $1.6 million (£1.2m/€1.3m) salary a bargain for the Red Bulls. 

  18. Romain Alessandrini | LA Galaxy

    Another of the Galaxy's star men, the French midfielder is set to make $1.9 million (£1.4m/€1.6m) this season. 

  19. Federico Higuain | Columbus Crew

    Not set to make the money his brother earns at Juventus, the Argentine is a good MLS value at $1.1 million (£812k/€920k) for 2018.