Adam Goodes will say his farewell to Sydney Swans supporters at the start of next season and is likely to miss the traditional Grand Final parade of retired players.

Goodes announced his retirement in the rooms after Saturday's semi-final loss to North Melbourne in Sydney, meaning supporters didn't get the chance to say goodbye on the night.

It's believed the 35-year-old dual Brownlow medallist is taking holidays for around two months and therefore will not feature on Grand Final day.

The 26-point loss to the Kangaroos denied Goodes a shot at a preliminary final clash with West Coast in Perth, where he was booed so boisterously by Eagles fans in late July that he stood down from playing for a week.

"As soon as I came back after the West Coast game it was all about just getting things on my terms, just getting back and playing footy," Goodes told Channel Nine.

"I was just really happy to come back."

Goodes won premierships in 2005 and 2012 and Saturday's loss ended any chance he had of becoming the first Swan to play in three flag-winning teams.

"There are not too many fairytales in footy and to finish the way we did last night is disappointing," Goodes said.

"I just wanted to do it (announce retirement) on my terms and I think I've done that."

Goodes will be remembered as one of football's greatest contributors, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said as tributes flowed for the retiring Swans champion. 

McLachlan said Goodes would be remembered both for his on-field achievements and his work as a tireless campaigner against racism. 

"Adam Goodes’ record as a great footballer speaks for itself. There are few in our history with his legacy of football achievements, and he deserves his place as an all-time great of the game," McLachlan said.

"Australian football is also fortunate to have had Adam's leadership – the only person from our game ever named as Australian of the Year - a role model for all Australians, and a passionate advocate for equality for indigenous Australians."

NSW Sport Minister Stuart Ayres said Goodes's stance on racism and passionate advocacy for indigenous Australians "is something all of us can learn from.

Ayres said Goodes held back his retirement announcement to allow fellow Swan Rhyce Shaw to be chaired off after his own final game.

"This probably says as much about Goodesy as anything he did on the field," Ayres said.

"A great player, a quality human being, Adam your noble banner hangs high today."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also paid tribute to the departing star, who took a week off following booing from opposing fans at several away matches before finishing his final season in strong fashion.

"I think the way Adam Goodes has been treated recently was absolutely shameful and I want to congratulate every Victorian and Australian that called out the racism," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

"I don't want that to be the way we remember a Brownlow medallist, a champion, the Australian of The Year, a great footballer and a great bloke."

Goodes with the 2006 Brownlow Medal, his second. Picture: AFL Media

And Adam Goodes has been rated the greatest Swan of all by the man whose club appearance record he broke.

At the end of an epic career and tumultuous season, Goodes leaves the game having chalked up 372 appearances, the eighth highest tally of all time and the most by an indigenous player.

He won two premiership and Brownlow Medals, a Rising Star award, made the All Australian team four times, captained the Swans and the Australian side in the International Rules Series and was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century.

"I think he goes down as probably our greatest Swan," said former Swans forward Michael O'Loughlin, whose record of 303 games Goodes surpassed in 2012.

"Thats no disrespect to anyone who has played for us before, but I think the influence and the winning percentage games that he has been able to play, for the longevity.

"Your superstars play for a long time and he's absolutely one of those without a question.

"It was a pretty emotional night."