According to the latest list of MLS salaries -- released by the MLS Players Union -- the highest-paid player in the league is one who hasn't even played a minute for his MLS club this season.
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That of course would be Kaka. In July, the former AC Milan attacker signed with expansion side Orlando City -- which is not slated to begin play until 2015 -- and was then loaned to Brazilian side Sao Paulo. His guaranteed compensation of nearly $7.2 million makes him the highest paid player in league history, just ahead of Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, who checks in at a hefty $6.7 million.
Based on these numbers, Orlando City's player payroll is already bigger than every MLS club save for the L.A. Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, New York Red Bulls, and Toronto FC.
It should be noted that the numbers must be taken with a pinch -- and in some cases a few truckloads -- of salt. Players come and go throughout the season, obscuring the total outlay made by clubs as it relates to their players. Other contracts can be front or back-loaded. For example, it is a dead certainty that former Spain international and current New York City FC forward David Villa will make many times more than the $60,000 in guaranteed compensation that is being reported by the MLSPU.
But the numbers do provide a glimpse into the salary machinations of every MLS club. According to this round of figures, Toronto will shell out the highest amount of guaranteed compensation at $16.7 million. Chivas USA, which sources say will be shut down at the end of the campaign, came in with the lowest amount of guaranteed compensation at $3.3 million, followed closely by Columbus ($3.54 million) and Colorado ($3.51 million).
Columbus is a club that has made its dollars count, however, spending just over $82,000 for every point in the standings. The best in this regard is D.C. United, which spent $77,654 per point. As has long been the case in MLS, spending loads of cash is no guarantee of success. One only has to witness Toronto's struggle just to make the playoffs, despite its league-high payroll. It does help if such deep coffers are spent wisely, as is the case with L.A. and Seattle.
Among the other notable salaries, U.S. international Jermaine Jones, who was at the center of a tug-of-war between the New England Revolution and the Chicago Fire, will make $3.25 million in guaranteed compensation.
Fellow U.S. international DaMarcus Beasley will earn just over $779,000, while Sporting Kansas City teammates Matt Besler and Graham Zusi will make $633,250 and $631,389, respectively.