Adelaide United have ruled out bringing Argentine midfielder and former fan favourite Marcos Flores back to the A-League due to salary cap restrictions.
Flores joined Adelaide United in January 2010 for the Reds' AFC Champions League campaign, setting the A-League alight in the 2010-11 season and winning the competition's player of the year award.
He left on a big-money deal to Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League in June 2011, but his contract was terminated at the Chinese Super League club by mutual consent on Thursday.
The Argentine playmaker struggled for regular games with Henan, and Flores was not considered worth a spot as an import.
"The stumbling block here is that the club has already 22 contracted players for next season and thus only have one spot left on the roster," an Adelaide statement read.
"Furthermore, the club already has both an Australian and foreign marquee player and as such, the club simply cannot contract Flores for next season as there is no room available in the salary cap to do so."
Adelaide revealed they had made contact with Flores' management and the two parties had been keen to get a deal done.
"The club has from the day Marcos left maintained strong relations with him so that Adelaide was always a serious option for him after the expiration of his Chinese contract," the statement continued.
"The early termination of his contract leaves the club in a position that as much as we admire and recognise his unique talents, we are currently unable to offer him a contract that he would accept."
Flores played 31 games for Adelaide and scored nine goals during his time at the club, and was widely considered one of the best players to play in the league.