Sydney FC's penalty hero and Johnny Warren medallist Milos Ninkovic has given the strongest indication he will stay with the A-League champions.
Speaking after Sydney's heart-stopping grand final triumph over Melbourne Victory on Sunday where he scored the winning penalty in a shootout, Ninkovic said he "can't promise anything" but made it clear the Sky Blues hold a special place in his heart.
Ninkovic was instrumental in Sydney's A-League premiership-championship double, with the playmaker's impressive form leading him to be judged the competition's best player and win the Johnny Warren Medal last week.
"I like these guys too much, I like all these people and the fans and the club, and like I said, I can't promise anything but I would like to stay, yeah," he told reporters.
Ninkovic revealed he won't play in Sydney's upcoming friendly against Liverpool on May 24 as he plans to return home to Serbia to spend time with his sick grandfather.
The closing weeks of the season have been dominated by discussion over whether Sydney would be able to keep Ninkovic, with many expecting the club to offer him a marquee contract outside the A-League's salary cap.
That would require one of Bobo or Filip Holosko to either leave or have their salaries brought inside the salary cap - presumably due to a pay cut - but coach Graham Arnold has always remained quietly confident he would be able to secure Ninkovic's signature.
Sydney's coach recently claimed Ninkovic's decision would come down to what the Serbian midfielder's wife wanted and reiterated that argument on Sunday.
"She said at the A-League awards that she wants to stay. So she wears the trousers, 'Ninko' doesn't and 'Ninko' will do as he's told," Arnold said with a smile.