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Gullit calls on Conte to apologise to Chelsea exile Costa

With Diego Costa currently AWOL, Ruud Gullit has encouraged Antonio Conte to apologise for his treatment of the Chelsea forward.

ConteCosta - cropped
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte greets Diego Costa

Antonio Conte should say sorry to Diego Costa as his current Chelsea exile is "not good for anyone", according to former Blues boss Ruud Gullit.

Costa scored 20 times for Chelsea as they won the Premier League last season, but he has since been told he is not in Conte's plans for their title defence.

With the Spain international now AWOL in Brazil and giving an interview in the past week claiming to have been treated like "a criminal", a claim that saw Conte burst out laughing when asked about it in his pre-match media conference ahead of Chelsea's trip to Wembley to face Tottenham.

After their disastrous start to the league campaign - a 3-2 defeat to Burnley that saw Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas sent off - former Chelsea player-manager Gullit believes it is now time for Conte to resolve the situation.

"It's all been instigated about what happened with Diego Costa," Gullit told BBC Radio 5live. "It's a little bit strange that you hear at the end of the season that you're not welcome, and now he's training somewhere in Brazil.

"That's not good for Costa, not good for the club, not good for anyone. [It was] not very wise to do. You don't do that.

"I think it is a mistake by Conte and I hope that he has learnt from it. He still has the possibility to do something about it, just got to him and say, 'I'm sorry that I did it, you have to come back, we will talk'.

"You need to see each other face to face. You don't need to like each other, but you need to respect each other.

"If he doesn't want to come back then you have to find the best solution for the club."

A return to Atletico Madrid has long been mooted for Costa, but the Spanish club's current transfer registration ban - until January - has left the forward in limbo.

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