Lionel Messi made more than the entire Real Salt Lake payroll – here’s by how much

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Lionel Messi has a higher guaranteed annual compensation than every player on Utah’s Real Salt Lake combined, according to the salary numbers released by the MLS Players’ Association.

And it may come as no surprise as Messi is arguably the most famous player ever, often hailed as the greatest of all time.

The Argentinian icon joined Florida-based Inter Miami in 2023 and has since taken the league by storm. The Associated Press previously reported the move as possibly being the “biggest boost ever for American soccer at the pro stage.” Now, in his first full season in the league, it has been revealed Messi has a base salary of $10.4 million and an annualized compensation of $20,446,667.

For reference, the entire Real Salt Lake roster’s payroll totals out at $13,604,919.

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Messi, who turns 37 next month, has 10 goals this season, one shy of the MLS lead – a three-way tie held in part by RSL lead striker, Chicho Arango. Arango, who is RSL’s highest-compensated player, has a guaranteed annual compensation of $2,088,746.

The high salary for Messi covers what he receives from his MLS deal, which runs through the 2025 season, including any marketing bonus and agent’s fees. The number does not account for any additional agreements with the team or its affiliates, or any performance bonuses.

Overall, Miami leads the league with a record $41.7 million payroll, double all but Toronto ($31.4 million) and Chicago ($25.1 million). Nashville’s roster, at $21.4 million, also earns more than Messi.

The average base salary of $513,075 for senior roster players, not including designated players who count only partly under a team’s salary cap, was up 8.4% from $473,292 at the start of last year. Total guaranteed compensation averaged $594,389.

Total compensation of all signed players was $519 million, up 12.8% from $460 million at the start of last season and from $394 million at the beginning of 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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