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Who Are the 10 Most Valuable Players in the MLS?


With the MLS now in full gear, we looked at the ten most valuable players in the league and what they bring to their teams. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Who Are the 10 Most Valuable Players in the MLS?

With the 29th season of Major League Soccer (MLS) officially underway, fans are excited for another year of growing competition. MLS is in its second season with Apple after signing a ten-year broadcasting partnership in 2023, making the sport more watchable than ever. As of 2022, the average MLS franchise was worth 55% more than in 2021, depicting a rapidly growing league. Today, let’s look at the ten most valuable players in the league increasing that market value. 

(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Lionel Messi | Right Winger, Inter Miami

It would be impossible to start with any other player than Lionel Messi. Over 15 years after David Beckham shocked the world by signing with the Los Angeles Galaxy as one of the world’s top soccer stars, Messi followed in his tracks. In 2023, Messi signed a massive contract with Inter Miami, co-owned by Beckham, bringing with him a market value of over $44 million. He is the most valuable player in the MLS, and like Beckham, his star power is increasing the value of the league. The pair also dramatically improved Inter Miami’s value and on-field prowess. 

In 2022, the club was a mediocre 14–14–6. In 2023, without Messi, they were 1–16–3. With Messi, though, they were 8–2–4 and won the Leagues Cup. Up-to-date online sportsbook odds have Inter Miami as +300 odds to win the MLS Cup, the best odds in the league. 

Thiago Almada | Attacking Midfield, Atlanta United FC

The 22-year-old Argentinian began his senior career with Velez Sarsfield of the Primera Division before a league-record $16 million transfer brought him to Atlanta in 2022. One of the best soccer prospects of his class, Almada played for Argentina in the 2022 World Cup, becoming the first active MLS player ever to win a World Cup. In 31 games with Atlanta United last season, Almada scored 11 goals and is currently worth over $34 million in market value.

(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Facundo Torres | Right Winger, Orlando City SC

Another young and up-and-coming player is 23-year-old Torres. He was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, beginning his senior career with his hometown Club Atlético Peñarol of the Primera Division. In January 2022, Torres signed a four-year Young Designated Player contract with an option for a fifth year for a club-record $9 million fee. He scored 13 goals across 40 appearances in his first season before scoring 14 goals over just 39 appearances in 2023. He is worth $17.7 million on the market. 

Cucho Hernandez | Centre-Forward, Columbus Crew

The 24-year-old Colombian striker is another young player, albeit with far more transfer experience than our previous two players. His professional career began in 2015 with Deportivo Pereira at just 15 years old, and he was named captain at just 17 years old. He was put on loan four times in the next four years before signing a club-record $10 million deal with the Columbus Crew as a Young Designated Player. Hernandez has proven to be a dynamic goal scorer, setting an MLS record by scoring four goals in a three-game stretch in under 90 minutes. He is worth over $16 million on the market today. 

Hany Mukhtar | Attacking Midfield, Nashville SC

At 28 years old, Mukhtar has scored 105 goals across 324 appearances in his career. The German player joined Nashville SC in 2020 as the franchise’s first Designated Player, and he has become one of their top scorers, logging 68 goals in 133 matches. His worth now exceeds $15 million.

Sebastian Driussi | Attacking Midfield, Austin FC

In 2021, Driussi signed a Designated Player contract with Austin FC and responded by becoming an All-Star in 2022. He signed a three-year deal in 2023 with an option for the 2026 season, bringing his estimated market worth to over $15 million.

Riqui Puig | Central Midfield, Los Angeles Galaxy

Puig is the first of a pair of Galaxy players on this list, a rare MLS transfer from La Liga. He spent his youth career with Barcelona before appearing for Barcelona B and Barcelona in La Liga. In August 2022, he joined the Galaxy on a free transfer worth over $15 million.

Joseph Paintsil | Right Winger, Los Angeles Galaxy 

The newest addition on our list, Paintsil, is a 26-year-old winger from Ghana who spent seven seasons playing for Genk in Belgium. In February, he signed a four-year deal with the Galaxy for a $9 million transfer fee, putting his market value under $14 million. 

Hugo Cuypers | Centre-Forward, Chicago Fire FC

Another recent signee, Cuypers, signed with the Chicago Fire in February for a club-record fee. The Belgium native has 93 career goals and enters the MLS with a market value of over $13 million. 

Talles Magno | Left Winter, New York City FC

Finally, we come to New York FC’s Brazilian winger, who was included in The Guardian’s Next Generation 2019. The 21-year-old joined New York FC in 2021 and has scored 18 goals in 96 appearances while adding $12 million in market value.

What Do These Numbers Mean for the League?

As the MLS grows, valuable players must be coming to the league. In recent years, the MLS has become a viable landing spot for some of the most talented players in the world. Ultimately, as the market value of the league’s players goes up, so will the league’s value. 

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