Graeme Shinnie says he would be open to returning to Pittodrie in the future.
The Aberdeen captain is heading for pastures new after four years at the club.
Last month Shinnie signed a pre-contract agreement with Derby County and will join them next season on a three-year deal.
The Rams could be a Premier League club for next term as they face Aston Villa in the play-off final next Monday.
After coming through at Inverness Caley Thistle and then joining the Dons in the summer of 2015, Shinnie feels the time is right for a new challenge in England.
But the 27-year-old has loved his time with his hometown team and would be keen on rejoining the Reds later in his career.
Shinnie said: “I’ve got a three-year deal at Derby and I want to go down there and do as well as I can.
“After those three years you never know what’s going to happen in football.
“I’ll never say never regarding the future because I would love to come back and play at the club again.
“Right now I want to go down and do as well as I can at Derby.
“But I’ve loved my time at Aberdeen over the last four years.
“I’ve enjoyed watching the fans celebrate some of the big games and wins we’ve had.
“Even in the last game of the season against Hibs on Sunday it was the same.
“The away end was packed and they were delighted to see us win.
“It’s an amazing club and the players are fortunate to be at a club like Aberdeen.”
Shinnie played through the pain to feature in Aberdeen’s final two games of the season.
He picked up an ankle injury in the 1-0 win against Kilmarnock, on April 20 which looked like it could rule him out of the last four games of the season.
But the Scotland cap battled back to play in the 2-1 win over Hearts at Pittodrie and Sunday’s 2-1 victory against Hibs at Easter Road.
Shinnie was desperate to be involved as the Reds looked to secure third spot and guarantee a place in Europe.
Although Kilmarnock pipped the Dons to third on goal difference, due to their 2-1 win against Rangers on Sunday, Shinnie was thrilled to bow out for Aberdeen with a victory.
He added: “The ankle is hanging on really. I get to rest now which will let the swelling go down.
“I’m happy I was able to get through the last two games of the season. To be able to pick up two wins was crucial for me.
“It’s time to put the feet up, rest and recover and be ready for the start of next season.
“It’s up to other people to judge what they think about me playing in these games.
“But for me I just wanted to play every game I could for Aberdeen.
“I was gutted when I got the injury because I had played every league game up until then.
“So I was just desperate to try to get back before the end of the season.
“If I’d missed the rest of the season it would have been very disheartening. So I worked hard and got back to a level where I was able to play through the pain.
“I’m thankful I was able to do that and get the two wins in the last two games. To get the win on my final game was what I wanted.
“It’s disappointing that the other result didn’t go our way, but the fans were brilliant again on Sunday as they always have been.
“I think the fans and everyone know how much the club means to me. I’ve been proud to wear the badge and captain the club, over the four years I’ve had some great memories.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I leave – but hopefully the door is always open if I want to come back.”
Shinnie was disappointed Aberdeen didn’t finish third in the Premiership which would have guaranteed a sixth straight season in the Europa League qualifiers.
But the Dons will be in Continental action next term if Celtic beat Hearts in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.
Shinnie says he will watch the final and hopes the treble-treble chasing Hoops can do the Dons a favour.
He said: “I’ll definitely be watching the Scottish Cup final. I’ll be keeping an eye out and hopefully Celtic can do us a favour.
“I know getting into Europe means so much to the club, the chairman, the staff and the players.
“Everyone wants to be involved in those games so fingers crossed.”