Some of the biggest names in the sport have played in the league which is growing in popularity.

Football is a growing sport in the United States of America, and it is also known as soccer among the local population. Major League Soccer (MLS) is the premier league competition in the country which witnesses some of the top talents from across the globe play in it. On many occasions, high-profile players with European success under their belt also come to the country to have a taste of football here.

Some of the big names that have played in the MLS have also won the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League among other trophies during their careers. In the past, high-profile footballers would join the MLS in the latter stages of their career but nowadays, it is becoming more attractive as an option for players in their primes.

Even today, players like Gonzalo Higuain, Lorenzo Insigne, and Xherdan Shaqiri are part of this competition. On that note, here is a look at the top 10 greatest players to have played in Major League Soccer.

Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain has played for clubs like Real Madrid, Napoli, Juventus, AC Milan and Chelsea before joining Inter Miami in the MLS. The Argentine came to the USA in 2020 and has 21 goals and 11 assists across 61 games for his current employers. He has won major competitions like the Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, UEFA Europa League and more.

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane played for various European heavyweights like Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, West Ham United and Inter Milan among others. He came to the MLS in 2011 after agreeing to join LA Galaxy. The forward went on to win the MLS MVP award in the 2013-14 season. With the LA Galaxy, he won one Supporter’s Shield and three MLS Cup titles.

Frank Lampard

Lampard MLS
Lampard joined New York City in 2015 (Courtesy: Chelsea)

One of Chelsea’s greatest players of all time, Frank Lampard spent the last few years of his playing career in the MLS. The Englishman joined New York City from Manchester City in 2015. Before coming to the USA, Lampard had won three Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League and one Europa League among many other major titles.

David Villa

David Villa was a major signing for the MLS as a whole when the Spaniard joined New York City in 2014 from Atletico Madrid. Before coming to the USA, Villa had won the FIFA World Cup and the Euros with Spain. He had also won the UEFA Champions League, the La Liga and Club World Cup among other trophies with FC Barcelona. He was the MVP during the 2015-16 season of the MLS. 

Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry’s arrival in the MLS was memorable. A 1998 FIFA World Cup winner with France, he had a massively successful career at clubs like Arsenal and FC Barcelona, winning multiple major trophies like the Premier League, La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. He joined the NY Red Bulls in 2010 before retiring in 2015 as a player. 


Kaka was regarded as one of the best players of his generation. The winner of the Ballon d’Or in 2007, the Brazilian was popular across the globe thanks to his silky smooth dribbling skills and exquisite finishing. He had played for major clubs like AC Milan and Real Madrid, winning multiple major trophies. Kaka’s trophy cabinet includes the UEFA Champions League and the Club World Cup trophy. A FIFA World Cup winner with Brazil, Kaka played for Orlando City in the MLS. 

Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo is one of Italy’s all-time greatest footballers. During his playing days, he won multiple titles with clubs like Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus. The two-time UCL winner and a FIFA World Cup winner joined New York City FC in 2015 before retiring in 2018 as a player. 

David Beckham

David Beckham’s arrival to Major League Soccer was significant for its meteoric increase in popularity. The Englishman was one of the most recognizable figures in world football. He shocked the world by signing for LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007. The six-time Premier League winner with Manchester United also played for clubs like AC Milan and PSG later in his career.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney
Rooney is Manchester United’s all-time top scorer (Courtesy: Manchester United)

Wayne Rooney is regarded as one of the best English players of all time. The Manchester United legend won five Premier League titles and a UCL trophy among other major trophies with the club. He is the all-time leading goal-scorer for the Red Devils and the English national team currently. DC United signed Rooney in 2018 from Everton – a major coup for them. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Few players had an instant impact like Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the MLS when he joined LA Galaxy from Manchester United in 2018. A look at the Swede’s playing experience can make anyone dizzy. He has played for top European teams like Ajax, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus, FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester United. Zlatan currently plays for AC Milan in his second stint with the club at the age of 40. He has 12 league titles with various teams across his career, making him one of the greats of the game to also play in the MLS.

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