Socceroo Harry Kewell has quit the Melbourne Victory and the A-League for family reasons.
Kewell, 33, was set to sign a new contract with the Victory, for whom he played last season.
But his actress wife Sheree Murphy's mother is gravely ill, and he has decided to remain in England with her and their young family for the foreseeable future.
The Victory will confirm Kewell's departure later on Sunday.
The club was only informed of the shock decision late on Saturday, and had been convinced up until then that Kewell would agree a new deal to remain at the club.
Kewell's A-League career looks to have ended with the decision.
His immediate playing future now looks certain to be in England.
A strong season at the Victory will have convinced possible suitors his body is up to the rigours of Premier League football.
He scored eight goals in 25 games in his only A-League season, with no major injury concerns and some strong showings at national team level during his stint in Australia.
Kewell activated a clause to terminate his original incentive-based three-year contract at the Victory at the end of the 2011-12 season.
He was then expected to sign a two-year deal, and while he had been linked with the new West Sydney franchise, Kewell had been keen to play on at the Victory until this weekend's developments.
The former Leeds United, Liverpool and Galatasaray star signed with Victory amid great fanfare last August.
He was the A-League's highest profile signing in its seven-year history.