The club's chief executive Michael Petrillo announced over the weekend that there had been a mutual termination of Aloisi's contract a year early.

But hours later, Aloisi, 33, furiously blasted the club for claiming he was retiring from football - and insisted he still had plenty of match action left to offer.

Now his former team-mates are still reeling from the controversy as they prepare for this week's crucial Asian Champions League match against Korean champions, Seongnam Ilhwa.

"I got a text message on Saturday and I was a bit surprised, a bit shocked but I wish him all the best in what he decides to do," said veteran winger Bobby Petta.

"He's sure to be missed; I know I'll miss him in the dressing room and on the park.

"We need to focus on our game and on Wednesday and try not to think about what happened on Saturday."

Travis Dodd added: "We've said for two years we're a team that works for each other and it is no different now that things are happening off the pitch.

"It shows the resolve of the players that when the chips have been down and all the stuff has been going down, and still is, we are able to keep going and get results.

"We're professional players and we have to get on with our jobs.

"It is a very important game for us and we really need the three points to stay in the competition."

Caretaker coach Aurelio Vidmar added: "It's sad that that's what's happened but we've really got to start to look forward.

"I think he's been a great player for the club and for this state.

"It was probably an initial shock for everyone ….(but) it's an inevitable part of football or any sport really."