Top paid MLS stars revealed as Xherdan Shaqiri breaks Zlatan Ibrahimovic's record and pips ex-Man Utd star to top spot

FORMER Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri is the highest paid player in MLS history.

The Chicago Fire star, 30, has set a new record for top spot that was previously held by former Manchester United and PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Shaqiri joined Chicago in February, penning a contract until 2024 worth £6.5million a year.

Ibrahimovic earned £6m a year during his spell at LA Galaxy with previous record holder Kaka being paid £5.2m per annum at Orlando Pirates.

Shaqiri is a designated player at Chicago, meaning the mid-west side can pay him whatever they can afford since he does not fall under the salary cap.

He is the only player in MLS to be paid more than £5m a year with former United and West Ham star Javier Hernandez the second highest earner on £4.8m a year.

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Here are the ten highest earners in MLS.

Xherdan Shaqiri – Chicago Fire – £6.5m

Shaqiri has struggled to make an impact in the MLS with Ezra Hendrickson's side bottom of the Eastern Conference with just 10 points from 11 games.

The Swiss has scored two goals in nine games so far so has to offer a lot more if he is to live up to his massive wages.

Big things are expected of the winger given he has excelled in the Premier League and played for the likes of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

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Javier Hernandez – LA Galaxy – £4.8m

Chicharito arrived in MLS with a big pedigree as Mexico's record goalscorer and two Premier League winners' medals with United.

He got off to a slow start in his first season with the Galaxy but scored 17 goals in 21 league games last term.

Hernandez has continued to score regularly this term and helped his side up to fourth place in the Western Conference.

Gonzalo Higuain – Inter Miami – £4.6m

Another big-name star to make the switch from Europe to America in recent years, but like Shaqiri he has struggled to adapt.

Inter Miami continue to struggle under the stewardship of Phil Neville and sit one place above Chicago with one more point.

The 34-year-old has just 15 goals in 47 games and he was recently axed from the squad due to his poor performances.

Alejandro Pozelu – Toronto FC – £3.7m

The former Swansea flop has been a revelation for Toronto, scoring 26 goals and registering 26 assists for the Canadian side.

He was named MLS MVP for 2020 but has not been able to help his side to silverware just yet.

Jozy Altidore – New England Revolution – £3.4m

Another Premier League outcast who has fared well in his native country, scoring 79 goals in six years at Toronto.

He won MLS with his former side in 2017 before making the switch to New England Revolution last summer – the pay packet on offer was likely a big appeal to the former Sunderland star.

Josef Martinez – Atlanta United – £3.3m

Martinez has been one of the most prolific MLS strikers in front of goal in recent years.

He has scored 104 goals in 137 games for Atlanta and has been linked with a Premier League transfer in the past – before his scoring rate slowed down a little.

Carlos Vela – LA FC – £3.2m

Once at Arsenal, Vela's career will arguably be remembered most for his stint on the west coast, where he has scored 71 goals in 113 games.

He hit 34 in 31 league games in 2019 – the record for most goals scored in single MLS campaign.

Luiz Araujo – Atlanta United – £3.1m

The Brazilian made the surprise switch to the U.S. last summer after helping Lille to the Ligue Un title last year.

He has made a promising start to his Atlanta career with four goals in eight games but carries a lot of expectation on his shoulders given his salary.

Lucas Zelarayan – Columbus Crew – £2.9m

The attacking midfielder helped Columbus Crew to the MLS title in 2020 and scored 12 goals last season.

He was a bit of a risk considering his wages but so far he has proved to be an astute signing.

Carles Gil – New England Revolution – £2.8m

Joined New England Revolution in 2019 before penning his £2.8m a year contract in 2021.

He rewarded the club with 18 assists last season which helped him win MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award.

New England also reached the semi-finals of MLS and lost to eventual winners New York City FC on penalties.

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