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Diego Costa must resolve Chelsea problem before Spain call - Lopetegui

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has reiterated that Chelsea striker Diego Costa must resolve his club future as soon as possible if he is to return to the national team fold.

One hundred days have passed since Costa last played an official game, a 2-1 victory over Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier for Spain on June 11.

Eager to rejoin Atletico Madrid, Costa has refused to return to Chelsea and was on a self-imposed exile in Brazil since claiming in June that Blues coach Antonio Conte texted him to tell him he was no longer part of his plans.

"We are not angry," Lopetegui told beIN SPORTS. "Costa's summer has been unusual, strange, complicated -- not just for him but for his club. He is still a Chelsea player. It's a complicated issue.

"Our hope is that he will resolve his situation as soon as possible and that he can compete, train and play, which is what he likes doing the most and what interests the national team."

The 28-year-old was left out of Spain's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein earlier this month.

Diego Costa
Diego Costa has been told he is surplus to requirements at Chelsea.

Spain host Albania and play away to Israel in their final World Cup qualifiers next month with Costa expected to miss out.

"It's rather complicated that a guy who doesn't train and doesn't play can be with us," Lopetegui said. "But that's all it is.

"He wasn't ready to play with us [against Italy and Liechtenstein], that was the reality and what we had to deal with. That is the reason why he wasn't with us. He needs to train and play in order to be considered."

Atletico could not register new players during the summer window due to a FIFA transfer ban which ends in January 2018, but are reportedly keen to re-sign Costa.

Marca reports that Atletico have made Chelsea a "final offer" of £57 million plus add-ons for Costa, the Blues' top scorer last season.

Tied to Chelsea until June 2019, Costa joined the club in a £32m deal from Atletico in 2014 and has scored 58 goals in 120 games, winning two Premier League titles and one League Cup.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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