Werder Bremen captain Torsten Frings was told Tuesday the north German club will not be extending his contract, leaving the former German international midfielder to hunt for a new club or consider a career in coaching.
Having initially spent four-and-a-half years at Bremen between 1997 and 2002, 34-year-old Frings rejoined Werder in July 2005, making a total of 326 league appearances for the club, but he is out of contract at the end of June.
Bremen's director of sport Klaus Allofs and coach Thomas Schaaf announced in a press conference on Tuesday that Frings will not be offered a contract extension.
"We know that he is disappointed. I can understand it," said Allofs, citing "sporting and economic" reasons for the decision.
Allofs added it was not a matter of money, "because there was no contract offered".
But Frings could still have a future at Bremen as a coach.
"Werder Bremen will offer him a job to train as a coach and to acquire the necessary license,"said Allofs.
"He will give us his response in the coming days.
"We will make it possible for him to become a coach, but we will also accept his decision if he decides to continue his career at another club."
Frings, who won the last of his 79 caps for Germany in February 2009, has had a torrid season with Bremen, who flirted with relegation and were on the receiving end of some heavy league defeats before finishing 13th in the league.
"I have to accept the decision," Frings told Bremen newspaper the Kreiszeitung Syke.
"Too bad, I would have preferred to finish after a more successful season."
With a reported annual salary of over four million euros ($5.7m), Frings' options now include playing in the North American MLS or in the United Arab Emirates.
"It was not about the money," Frings said. "I had no offer that I could accept or reject, because there was none."
Frings' departure will end his second spell at the club he rejoined six years ago after having initially left in 2002 for Borussia Dortmund.
He moved to Bayern Munich in 2004, helping the Bavarians win the Bundesliga title in his only season at the club.
Bremen finished the Bundesliga season just above the relegation zone after going down 3-2 at Kaiserslautern on Saturday.
Frings played in the 2002 World Cup final defeat to Brazil, but was suspended for Germany's semi-final defeat by Italy four years later as the hosts went on to finish third.