MLS Inter Miami Designated Players are Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Leonardo Campana. The three allocated spots are filled by these three players.

Jordi Alba who has played soccer at the highest level and accomplished so much as a player is not registered as a Designated Player. He was expected to be a DP on the roster but will be now taking a salary cap.

The DP spots were previously filled with Gregore, Rodolfo Pizzaro, and Leonardo Campana. Messi and Busquets have taken the new spots, and Campana remains the third player.

Pizzaro's contract was terminated by mutual agreement on July 14, 2023, and vacated the DP spot that allowed Messi to take it. Gregore, on the other hand, is still part of the team and will be moved to a regular roster spot.

Messi snubbed a lucrative offer from Al Hilal who were willing to pay the maestro a whopping $505 million in wages and would have made him one of the highest-paid athletes but decided to join the Herons on a much lower salary.

Inter Miami Designated Players 2023

Lionel Messi might just become the first player in MLS history to win the Ballon d'Or
Source : twitter

Inter Miami CF has three players in Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Leonardo Campana as the Designated Players on the team roster. Each team can have up to three such players.

Lionel Messi - Argentina

Lionel Messi needs to introduction. His name speaks for itself and the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is undoubtedly the greatest soccer player to have graced the soccer pitch.

Messi was linked to several clubs after he confirmed his departure from PSG. His former club Barcelona was the front-runner for his signature followed by Al-Hilal. In the end, he decided to make a move to the MLS.

The Argentine confirmed a move to Inter Miami in June 2023 and the deal will run through the end of the 2025 MLS season. He was unveiled on July 17 to a sold-out crowd at the DRV PNK Stadium.

Once the news broke out that he would be joining Inter Miami CF, it was obvious that he would be given the DP spot as he is among the highest-paid athletes in the world.

He had the most fairytale debut when he managed to curl a free-kick in stoppage time to win the game for his side against Cruz Azul. 

Playing in the US will be beneficial as the Copa America 2024 and the 2026 FIFA World Cup are both to be held in the United States. 

Sergio Busquets - Spain

Sergio Busquets is one of the most underrated midfielders of this generation. He is considered one of the best defensive midfielders in the world based on his ability to make anything difficult look easy.

He has a knack for being at the right place at the right time to intercept passes and easily read the game. He can create chances from a deep position and is vital for the transition of plays.

Messi and Busquets have had a long history of winning multiple trophies together as they played at Barcelona for over a decade.

He will be taking the second Designated Players spot and questions were raised if he would be the right choice given he is already 35 and if could he make a positive impact for the underperforming Herons.

There is absolutely no doubt when it comes to his ability on the ball and he showed his masterclass on his debut against Cruz Azul.

Leonardo Campana - Ecuadorian

Leonardo Campana has been part of the MLS side since 2022 when he joined the Herons on a season-long loan. He had 26 appearances and scored 11 goals during his loan spell.

In January 2023, he was signed by Inter Miami and occupied the Young DP slot as he just turned 23 with his contract running through 2025. The club also has the option to extend his contract through 2026 which they probably will.

He managed to find the back of the net four times this season in 16 appearances and with the signing of the little magician, Campana will get a lot more chances to score this season.

MLS Designated Players Rule

The first ever Designated Player in the league's history when he signed for LA Galaxy
Source : twitter

The rule which is famously known as the Beckham Rule allows all franchises to sign up to three players who are exempt from their salary cap. This rule allows teams to exceed their salary cap and also maintains the financial balance.

This means that this rule allows players to be paid higher wages or have their transfer fees paid for, even if it exceeds the team's salary cap. This allows the MLS teams to sign high-profile players who would be too expensive under the salary cap.

The rule came into existence ahead of the 2007 season and allows the MLS teams to compete against the European clubs for the top talents and names in the soccer world.

This rule has helped the league grow as it can now attract top players who have been on high wages in their previous clubs and can now be paid a similar salary. The MLS has become an attractive destination for star players.

This rule was instrumental in the signing of David Beckham by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Without this rule, Galaxy would not be able to sign him and in the process became the first player under this rule to be signed by a MLS team.

In 2023, $5.2 million is the amount set as the base salary cap with $1.9 million as General Allocation Money (GAM) and $2.7 million as Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

The Designated Player budget charge in 2023 was $612,500 for players who joined their team before the Secondary Transfer Window. However, for players who joined their team after the Secondary Transfer Window, the budget charge was reduced to $306,250.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed with the LA Galaxy and took up the DP spot. The maximum single salary the team could pay was capped at $530,000 and Ibrahimovic's base salary alone was $7.2 million.

Messi's contract with Inter Miami has not been made public and it is reported that he could be earning anywhere around $125 million-$150 million.

Busquets on the other hand may not make as much as Messi but would definitely be paid way above the salary cap. 

What Is A Designated Player In MLS?

Several big names from all over the world have come to the MLS as Designated Players since 2007
Source : twitter

A Designated Player is a player on the roster who is not counted under the team's salary cap. These players are those whose acquisition costs and total compensation exceed the maximum budget charge. 

These players are either paid a high wage which is above the salary cap or a transfer fee for the player has been paid.

Unlike teams outside of the US where players get paid a hefty amount, the MLS has always focused on maintaining the financial balance among the teams.

The MLS has seen many big names join the league thanks to the Designated Player Rule which allows the league to be competitors in the soccer world. The MLS has always been different that other European leagues with the salary cap being the major difference.

David Beckham kick-started the signing of top talents and names in the MLS in 2007 and many players have followed his footstep and have found the league as a great destination. In 2019, the league reported that there have been 209 DP in the league's history.

A number of famous personalities have graced the soccer pitches in the United States as Designated Players in the MLS.

MLS Designated Players list of the most famous players of the past are:

  • Thiery Henry - New York Red Bulls
  • Kaka - Orlando City SC
  • David Villa - New York City FC
  • Frank Lampard - New Yprk City FC
  • Andrea Pirlo - New York City FC
  • Steven Gerrard - LA Galaxy
  • Didier Drogba - Montreal Impact
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger - Chicago Fire
  • Wayne Rooney - D.C. United 
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic - LA Galaxy

MLS Designated Players 2023 are as follows:

KlaussSt. Louis City SC
Eduard LowenSt. Louis City SC
EvanderPortland Timbers
Daniel GazdagPhiladelphia Union
Martin OjedaOrlando City
Enzo CopettiCharlotte FC
Mateusz KlichD.C. United
Leonardo CampanaInter Miami
Andrea MaxsøColorado Rapids
Carlos GruezoSan Jose Earthquakes
Dante VanzeirNew York Red Bulls
Giorgos GiakoumakisAtlanta United
Sergio CordovaVancouver Whitecaps FC
Riqui PuigLA Galaxy
Santiago RodriguezNew York City FC
Jonathan OsorioToronto FC
Cristian ArangoReal Salt Lake
Aaron BoupendzaFC Cincinnati
Teemu PukkiMinnesota United
Ousmane DoumbiaChicago Fire
Rafael NavarroColorado Rapids
Lionel MessiInter Miami
Sergio BusquetsInter Miami