Manchester United midfielder Nani has given the strongest indication yet he will not be extending his stay at Sporting Lisbon after saying goodbye to supporters.
Nani, 28, is nearing the end of his loan spell at his boyhood club having rejoined them on a season-long loan deal in the summer of 2014 as part of the deal that saw Marcos Rojo join United.
After two seasons that were largely disrupted by injury at Old Trafford, the Portugal international has rediscovered his best form in his homeland, helping guide Sporting to a third-place finish in the Primeira Liga, guaranteeing them Champions League football next season.
A 4-1 victory over Sporting Braga in their final home game of the season on 17 May sealed it for Sporting and Nani took the opportunity after the match to say goodbye to the supporters, suggesting he will return to Old Trafford in the coming weeks.
"Your support was indiscreable [sic], like in the past I will take Sporting in my heart. Thank you always Sporting."
Nani's wages, which have been paid by United in full this season, mean any permanent move is out of Sporting's financial reach.
The midfielder still has three years remaining on his current deal at Old Trafford, having penned a new five-year contract during David Moyes's time in charge at the club. He remains hopeful of getting the chance to prove himself to manager Louis van Gaal next season.
"I am a Manchester United player and I must return," Nani told Portuguese newspaper O Jogo in April. "I can never say it is impossible [staying at Sporting]. I believe I am now more confident to complete for a place in whatever team it is."
Competition for wide roles has already intensified ahead of next season, though, with Memphis Depay poised to join the club after United and PSV Eindhoven struck a deal for the Netherlands international earlier in May.