The veteran midfielder is keen to end his playing days in Vila Belmiro, but claims a reluctance on the Peixe's part has forced him to seek other options
The 37-year-old midfielder will leave current employers Al Gharafa in June when his contract expires, and has made no secret of the fact that a second spell in Vila Belmiro would be his first choice.
Ze Roberto formerly appeared for the Peixe between 2006-07, winning the Paulista Championship and reaching the Copa Libertadores semi-finals in spectacular fashion.
Speaking on Wednesday, however, the veteran admitted that he felt left out in the cold by Santos' indifference, and would not consider a move to another institution.
"My word has crashed back down to earth, and the priority I had previously given to Santos is no longer valid. I cannot stay waiting at the mercy of one club," Ze Roberto told Lance, explaining that he believed an agreement was in place with the 2011 Libertadores champions.
"In the past I have given my word to president [Luiz Alvaro Ribeiro] that, if I was to return to Brazil, Santos would have priority. I love the club dearly, but I have to have control of my own life."
In response, president Ribeiro left the door open for the ex-Brazil international to return.
"Santos are interested in seeing him come back. We need to talk with Muricy [Ramalho]. At the start of the year he approved the transfer, but the team has changed since then and five months have passed," the chief affirmed.
Ze Roberto lifted no less than four Bundesliga titles with Bayern, and was also a two-time Copa America winner with the Selecao during a glittering career.