Kaka's proposed £107-million transfer from AC Milan to Manchester City was dramatically spiked on Monday night with both clubs claiming to have pulled the plug on the deal.
The development came at the end of a day when a deal for the Brazilian playmaker appeared tantalisingly close.
Man City's executive chairman Garry Cook lead a club delegation in meetings with Milan officials and Kaka's father, Bosco Leite in attempt to broker what would have been a world record transfer.
However, in a statement the Premier League club said they had pulled out of negotiations as there was little chance of a deal being done owing to the complexity of the terms.
Cook told the club's website: ''Whilst Manchester City Football Club has an obvious interest in world-class players of the quality of Kaka, we owe it to our fans that such a transfer must work on every level; commercially, financially, in terms of results on the field and within Manchester City's broader community.
''The club felt that it was unlikely that the two parties could reach common ground for an agreement. The discussions reached only a preliminary stage and the player was not involved at any time.''
Somewhat contradicting City's claims were comments from Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister and Milan's owner, who said Kaka himself rejected the move.
''Money is not everything for Kaka, there are things more important than money. We are happy. We offered the player the chance to consider the offer, but he has higher values,'' Berlusconi told Italian television when explaining the 26-year-old's decision to turn down a move to the Eastlands club.
''It was down to me and also to him," added Berlusconi. ''When I heard he would prefer to stay, that he didn't think he would be missing a great opportunity and he prefers the values of our flag, the values of closeness and friendship, the warmth and the affection that all the fans have shown him in these days, I said 'hooray' and we hugged. Kaka is staying at Milan.''
On learning the news late on Monday hundreds of fans gathered outside Kaka's central Milan home where they celebrated his decision to remain with the Rossoneri.
Last week, in his only public comment since the saga began, Kaka said: ''I want to grow old at Milan. My aim is to become the captain of this team. I have already turned down some big offers.''
Despite his declaration, City continued to pursue the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or winner, and over the weekend appeared close to agreeing a deal after Berlusconi said it would be tough to hang on to the player given the sums of money being discussed.
Kaka, who was courted by Real Madrid last year and also linked with a move to Chelsea, played in Milan's 1-0 Serie A win over Fiorentina on Saturday and was clearly moved by the response of the fans inside the San Siro.
The Milan fans had been demanding talks with City were stopped and protested against a possible sale outside Milan's city centre headquarters.
There was some good news for City in the transfer market earlier on Monday; the club signed Craig Bellamy from West Ham United while Dutch international midfielder Nigel De Jong has also been given permission to speak to City about a move from Hamburg SV.