MLS salaries REVEALED: Gareth Bale is only 23rd highest earner

MLS salaries REVEALED: Gareth Bale is only the 23rd highest earner on $2.3m and LAFC teammate Giorgio Chielleni gets just $1m… while top paid Lorenzo Insigne earns $14m – DOUBLE second-place Xherdan Shaqiri

  • Gareth Bale joined LAFC in an eye-catching move before the World Cup
  • But the Welshman’s earnings have been revealed to be surprisingly low
  • Lorenzo Insigne topped out as MLS’ highest earner for Toronto FC
  • Federico Bernardeschi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Javier Hernandez also made top 5
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After earning $627,000 a week (€636,000) at Real Madrid, the extent of Gareth Bale’s MLS pay cut has been revealed, with the forward making a comparatively modest salary at LAFC.

In figures published Monday by MLS’ players’ association, Bale was shown to be earning $2.3million in ‘guaranteed compensation’ for the season, which includes any signing and guaranteed bonuses.

The number means 22 players are earning more than Bale in MLS, and while that seems a big drop-off from his European playing days, the Welshman’s limited role in LA makes it hard to justify a larger payday.

Gareth Bale is just the 23rd highest earner in MLS but has seen limited action this season

The signing of Lorenzo Insigne was considered a massive coup for Toronto FC

Since signing for the club on June 27, Bale has made just two league starts for the club, making 10 further appearances off the bench and tallying two goals.

Other high-earning imports have made more of an impact.

Toronto’s Italian pairing of Lorenzo Insigne ($14m) and Federico Bernardeschi ($6.2m) are first and fourth respectively among the league’s highest earnings, with both contributing at least six goals and two assists after joining this summer.

Former Liverpool, Stoke and Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri ($8.1m) was the only player to earn less than Insigne and contributed seven goals and seven assists in his maiden MLS season.

Xherdan Shaqiri had an effective season for Chicago as the league’s second-highest earner

Elsewhere, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez ($7.4m) and Gonzalo Higuain ($5.7m) were the third and sixth-highest earners, while former USMNT striker Jozy Altidore ($4.2m) rounded out the top ten with Toronto FC.

Bale wasn’t the only player revealed to be earning a surprisingly low salary.

His LAFC teammate, longtime Juve stalwart and Euros winner Giorgio Chiellini is making just over $1million, and the Italian center back has played a greater role than Bale in the US with nine starts for LAFC since joining.

Ex-Barca, Porto and Fiorentina winger Cristian Tello ($1.7m) also fell outside of the top 25 earners, and has failed to start a game for LAFC since joining Bale and Chiellini there.

Giorgio Chiellini, 38, is not one of MLS’ top 25 earners for this season, it has been revealed

Chelsea’s Gabriel ‘Gaga’ Slonina will have had a massive pay boost when he joined the London club in August, as the Chicago Fire were paying him $147,000 before he agreed to stay with the club on loan for the remainder of the season.

And the league’s 2021 Golden Boot winner, ex-NYCFC striker Valentin ‘Taty’ Castellanos, has presumably upped his salary as well since joining fellow City Football Group club Girona in La Liga this summer. He was making $900,000 prior to the move from New York.

Former Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke ($4.1m), Aston Villa midfielder Carles Gil ($3.5m), Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama ($3m) and Real Socieded winger Carlos Vela ($2.7m) also made the league’s top 25 earners.


2. Xherdan Shaqiri, Chicago Fire: $8.1m

3. Javier Hernandez, Los Angeles Galaxy: $7.4m

4. Federico Bernardeschi, Toronto FC: $6.2m

5. Douglas Costa, Los Angeles Galaxy: $5.8m

6. Gonzalo Higuain, Inter Miami: $5.7m

7. Hector Herrera, Houston Dyanmo: $5.2m

8. Alejandro Pozuelo, Inter Miami: $4.6m

 9. Luiz Araujo, Atlanta United: $4.4m

10. Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC: $4.2M  


Christian Benteke, DC United: $4.1m

Carles Gil, New England Revolution: $3.5m

Victor Wanyama, CF Montreal: $3.0m

 Cucho Hernandez, Columbus Crew: $2.8m

Carlos Vela, Los Angeles FC: $2.7m

Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC: $2.3m

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