Lopez leaves Victory

Jose Luis Lopez has ended his loan spell at Melbourne Victory, allowing the midfielder to return to Costa Rica in the hope of reclaiming a national team position for the 2010 World Cup.

Jose Luis Lopez has ended his loan spell at Melbourne Victory, allowing the midfielder to return to Costa Rica in the hope of reclaiming a national team position for the 2010 World Cup.

Lopez signed a two-year deal in 2008 but will return to Deportivo Saprissa having played 18 matches for Melbourne, including a substitute appearance in the club's Grand Final win earlier this year.

The 28-year-old showed glimpses of his quality during those appearances but didn't get as much game time as he'd have liked due to the Victory's strong midfield depth.

However, Lopez said it was the long off-season that forced him to return home as he was overlooked by Costa Rican national selectors for the recent World Cup qualifiers after not playing competitively since the Victory defeated Adelaide 1-0 to win its second Hyundai A-League title.

"I'm looking forward to going back, not because I want to, but because I need to," Lopez said.

"I need to get to the World Cup."

"I've been in every single FIFA tournament from the under-20 World Cup, but I haven't accomplished my goal of being in the World Cup."

"I couldn't make it in 2006 because I was injured and I think this is my last chance."

"I used to be a regular for the national team, but because the league here ended in February, I haven't been playing."

"I didn't get called for Costa Rica's last two games, so that made me think about staying or leaving."

"It's not something that I want - I would love to stay - but it's the best thing for my career because I need some game time and my aim is to get to the World Cup."

Costa Rica is currently placed first in the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying, with the top three teams from the group of six to progress directly to next year's World Cup finals.

Costa Rica has five qualifiers remaining to secure a ticket to South Africa and Lopez, who captained his country at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, is determined to fulfill his lifelong ambition.

Melbourne Victory operations manager Gary Cole paid tribute to Lopez, saying there were no hard feelings towards the midfielder.

"Jose has been fantastic to deal with and returns to Costa Rica with our full blessing," Cole said.

"He needs to be playing regularly and has a desire to play at the World Cup and we don't want to stand in his way of achieving that."