Dan Carter is expected to announce in Auckland today that he has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with a French club.
The All Blacks first five-eighth is tipped to join Paris-based Racing Metro after next year's Rugby World Cup.
The deal, reported in Europe to be worth about $3 million a season, means Carter, 32, will become one of the highest-paid players on the world rugby circuit.
It is understood Carter has caught a flight from Taupo, where he is holidaying, to Auckland to outline his plans to retire from the All Blacks after the World Cup.
His exit from the game will bring down the curtain on an extraordinary career that began with his test debut against Wales in Hamilton in 2003 and has since seen him win 102 test caps.
Racing Metro owner Jacky Lorenzetti has called a "special press conference" in Paris for tonight (NZ time).
He is expected to announce that Carter will replace Jonathan Sexton, the Ireland first-five who will return to Leinster at the end of this season.
Toulon's Mourad Boudjellal appears to have lost out in the bidding war for Carter. He claims the New Zealander is joining Racing on a contract worth about $3 million a season.
Boudjellal has been reported to be highly critical of Lorenzetti's tactics, saying that Lorenzetti "has no respect for the salary cap" and that Carter's recruitment is tied in with sponsors and overseas companies.
"If you have 20 per cent of your payroll that starts with one player, it's complicated," Boudjellal told the European media.
"You will see him doing public relations for the sponsors. If he fills stadia, I say 'bravo', but what is not normal is what has been done to bring him to France.
"Next season we will see the arrival of players in France at clubs that have companies abroad. We are in proportions that have never existed in rugby."
Carter has previously played in France, having represented Perpignan after the 2007 World Cup. However, his impact for the club was minimal because he ruptured his Achilles tendon after just a couple of games.
Despite the injury, he said he enjoyed his time in France and would like to experience playing on the Continent later in his career.
This year has been a difficult one for the five-eighth. His six-month sabbatical limited his appearances for the Crusaders and a fractured fibula suffered in the Super Rugby grand final against the Waratahs meant he was not considered for the Rugby Championship, and he made just one test appearance for the All Blacks on their northern tour.
That was against Scotland in Edinburgh last month, and he did not do enough to push his way ahead of Beauden Barrett for the tour finale against Wales in Cardiff.