FAN favourite Carlos Hernandez has exited Melbourne Victory after the club couldn't come agree a new deal with him as they attempted to slash costs to fit him into the salary cap.
The high-earning Costa Rican has dazzled crowds since first joining Victory on loan in 2007 before the Melbourne side made A-League history by buying him for a reported $450,000.
Since then he has overcome lingering doubts about his fitness to become a key player for Victory and a vital cog in the side's attack, peaking in 2009/10 with 13 goals and nine assists to win the Johnny Warren medal.
Last season he played a more limited role but still scored an exceptional 10 goals from 21 appearances, making him the third highest goalscorer in the league.
In total he scored 36 goals in five seasons, collecting both the club’s 2009/10 and 2011/12 ‘Golden Boot’ awards along the way to two Championships.
However he has been an early victim of new coach Ange Postecoglou's revamp of the Victory side.
Postecoglou went on the radio earlier today admitting he wanted to bring Hernandez's wage bill down to give him more options, but tonight the club admitted those salary talks had failed.
"The club has spent considerable time negotiating with Carlos, but ultimately it was unable to agree to terms," the club said in a statement this evening.
Postecoglou added: “The club engaged in discussions with Carlos, but couldn’t reach agreement and will now move in a different direction.
“This provides some clarity for us to seek out and secure key players with our remaining visa spots.”
The club statement added: "Melbourne Victory would like to thank Carlos for his considerable contribution and wishes him all the best for the future."
Hernandez has been linked with a move to Adelaide United, but other clubs may be interested in snapping him up, including the new West Sydney franchise.
The FFA today called a press conference for tomorrow when they are expected to unveil Tony Popovic as the new club's first coach, along with its name and colours.