Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has thanked Harry Kewell for his contribution to the club and turned his attention towards signing a replacement for the marquee forward.
Victory confirmed on Sunday Kewell will not return to Melbourne for a second season, citing family reasons to remain in England, where his wife's mother is gravely ill.
Postecoglou said while he was understandably disappointed to lose the Socceroos star, he accepted the decision.
"I had a good chat to him and wished him all the best," Postecoglou said on Monday.
"It was a brief conversation. He wanted to make sure he told me personally.
"He was disappointed with the fact he couldn't come back but it was a family decision.
"He just wanted to make sure that the fans and particularly the players knew that it was a tough decision for him, but as with everything in life, family comes first."
Postecoglou said Victory will look abroad to replace the former Leeds United, Liverpool and Galatasaray player.
"It's not just about getting a name, he's got to fit into the structure of what we're doing and the kind of player that we want to bring to the club," Postecoglou said.
"I don't think there'll be an easy local or Australian solution to the kind of player we need.
"Harry was a fairly unique individual. He's had the highest profile of any Socceroo in the last 30 years and maybe ever.
"That's hard to replicate in another Australian player."
Postecoglou believes the Victory faithful were yet to see the best of Kewell, who scored eight goals in 25 matches since his arrival amid great fanfare in August.
"I've always said with foreigners - and I treated Harry as a foreigner because he hadn't played football in Australia before - when you come to this league it's usually the second year they tend to get comfortable and understand how the league works," Postecoglou said.
"I was very confident that Harry would have played his best football this year.
"The team struggled last year, and as a striker and an attacking player, when your team struggles it's very hard to stand out.
"In many respects he did the hard work and laid a foundation last year but unfortunately he can't reap the rewards."