Carlos Hernandez may yet stay at Melbourne Victory, with the club announcing on Monday they have opened contract negotiations with the Costa Rican playmaker.
Many had expected international marquee Hernandez to depart the club after 37 goals in 129 appearances since joining Victory in 2007, with his contract up at the end of the 2011-12 season.
Reports had circled that Hernandez's appearance in Friday's 3-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix - in which he struck a superb goal and impressed throughout - had been his last.
Attacking midfielder Hernandez had been the subject of several of signs and banners displayed by fans during the match, imploring him to stay or thanking him for his time at the club.
Now, however, the club has revealed in a statement on their website that they have opened talks with the 29-year-old Hernandez, who has scored nine goals this season and contributed two assists and is "certainly in the club's future plans".
"Now we're at the end of our season, we've started negotiations with Carlos and his management over a new deal," Victory managing director Richard Wilson said on Monday.
"Players of Carlos' quality are difficult to find, so we'll be working hard to re-sign him."
Victory have already signed Gold Coast left-back Adama Traore and youngster Julius Davies as part of their rebuilding process for the 2012-13 season, while Central Coast defender Sam Gallagher has been linked with a move and former Newcastle Jets defensive utility Adam Griffiths is on trial at the club.