The former England frontman played the last 16 minutes of the 1-1 draw at Southampton but he could not end with a fairytale winning goal for Tony Pulis' side.
The 33-year-old scored only once in nine appearances in an injury-hit campaign for the Potters since joining on a free transfer after leaving Manchester United last summer.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle striker admitted there was a lump in his throat when he came on to a great reception from both sets of fans at St Mary's.
He told Sky Sports: "It's mixed emotions but I couldn't really have wished for a better send-off.
"I mean, from Stoke fans' point of view, I've hardly contributed during the season and for them to give me a reception like that and sing my name right the way through the game, and even the home fans, they gave me a great reception as well, I want to obviously thank everyone.
"It's been a great career - as I've said before, it's the only thing I've known and to bring it to a halt it feels strange but everyone has to do it at some point.
"I've no doubt I could obviously play on - my body feels fine, there's no problems there but when you've been at the top it's hard not to be there anymore and to go out and to not feel as if you can influence a game like you used to, it's not enjoyable."