By DAN KARELL
He hasn’t played a second of soccer in MLS, but Kaka is already the league’s highest-paid player.
The MLS Players Union revealed the salary figures for every player in the league on Monday afternoon, and topping the charts is marquee Orlando City SC signing Kaka. The Brazilian made waves when he turned down lucrative options in Europe to join MLS, but he’ll still be earning a pretty penny playing as a Designated Player in Florida starting in March.
He’s set to earn a base salary of $6.66 million and a total salary of $7,167,500.
Clint Dempsey is next on the list and is set to earn a base salary of $4,913,004 and total compensation of $6,695,188.75.
Kaka’s salary bumps down the duo that made headlines last January for being a “Bloody big deal,” Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe. Both players are on a base salary of $6 million, but Bradley is set to earn $6.5 million this season in total guaranteed compensation, while Defoe has a contract for $6.18 million total.
Landon Donovan rounds out the top five with a total compensation of $4,583,333.33, just ahead of teammate Robbie Keane who is set to earn $4.5 million this season.
Of some of the the significant new signings since the last roster release, Jermaine Jones is earning a salary of $3 million base and $3,252,500 total, Liam Ridgewell is earning $1.2 million with the Portland Timbers, and DaMarcus Beasley is earning $750,000.
It should be noted that these numbers are only somewhat misleading for some players, as there are certain mechanisms such as allocation money or retention funds that can keep a player’s listed salary down in the salary cap while the player can still earn a nice check.
New York City FC’s first signing, David Villa, is listed on the salary release as earning $60,000, which is surely much less than what he’ll be making from both the club and the league.
Here’s a complete list of the MLS salaries as of Sept. 29.
Here’s a look at the top ten MLS earners in guaranteed compensation:
1. Kaka – $7,167,500.
2. Clint Dempsey – $6,695,188.75.
3. Michael Bradley – $6,500,000.
4. Jermain Defoe – $6,180,000.
5. Landon Donovan – $4,583,333.33.
6. Robbie Keane – $4,500,000.
7. Thierry Henry – $4,350,000.
8. Tim Cahill – $3,625,000.
9. Jermaine Jones – $3,252,500.
10. Marco Di Vaio – $2,600,000.
What do you think of this list? Impressed that Orlando City spent so much on Kaka? Which salary figures surprise you? Which players do you think deserve a pay raise for next season?
Share your thoughts below.