Fire's Shaquiri becomes MLS's highest-paid at nearly $8.2M

Chicago Fire midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, right, posing with sporting director Georg Heitz, left, in February, has become the highest paid player in MLS. (Brian Cassella/AP)

NEW YORK — Chicago Fire midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is Major League Soccer's highest-paid player, jumping past Los Angeles FC attacker Carlos Vela.

The 30-year-old Swiss international, who joined Chicago this season from Lyon, has a base salary of $7.35 million and total compensation of $8,153,000, according to figures released Tuesday by the Major League Soccer Players Association.

He is expected to be passed by Italian winger Lorenzo Insigne, who joins Toronto this summer from Napoli.

LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez began the season in second at $6 million and Inter Miami striker Gonzalo Higuain third with a $5.1 million base and $5,793,750 in total compensation.

Toronto midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo is fourth ($3.8 million, $4,693,000), followed by New England forward Jozy Altidore ($3,706,139 $4,264,963), Atlanta forward Josef Martinez ($3.75 million, $4,141,667), Vela ($2.25 million, $4.05 million), Atlanta midfielder/forward Luiz Araujo ($3.6 million, $3,941,667), Columbus midfielder Lucas Zelarayan ($3.1 million, $3.7 million) and New England midfielder Carles Gil ($3,25 million, $3,545,833).

Atlanta has the highest payroll, with guaranteed compensation of $20,999,272, followed by the Galaxy at $20,128,040, Miami at $18,882,628 and New England at $18,141,886.

Salt Lake is last at $10,477,859.

The union said the average for senior roster players, not including designated players who count only partly under a team's salary cap, increased by 10.3% to $438,728 from $397,753 in 2021.

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