Costa baying for Barca blood

LONDON - Atletico Madrid top scorer Diego Costa was back in training with his teammates on Thursday and looks likely to be fit for today's La Liga showdown at Barcelona.The Brazil-born Spain forward, who has 27 goals in La Liga and eight in the Champions League this term, missed Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Malaga with a leg muscle strain.

The entire squad trained under the orders of coach Diego Simeone on Thursday and had focused on fitness and strategic work, Atletico said on their website.

With one game left, Atletico are top on 89 points, with Barca on 86. Only twice in the history of Spain's top flight has the title been decided with a direct head-to-head clash on the last day.

Victory for Barca will secure their fifth title in six years as they would have a better head-to-head record after the title rivals drew 0-0 at the Calderon in Madrid in January.

A draw would be enough for Atletico to become the first side other than Real and Barca to win La Liga since Valencia in 2004.

The last time the title was decided with a head-to-head clash was in 1950-51, when Atletico pipped Sevilla. The only other occasion was five years earlier when Sevilla edged Barca.

Meanwhile, Barcelona bade farewell to their captain, Carles Puyol, on Thursday after a 15-year career that earned him a reputation as one of the greatest centre-halves the world has seen.

A one-club man and linchpin of Barça and Spain's all-conquering sides, he bows out with six league titles, three Champions League championships and two Spanish Cups to his name – along with a European Championship and World Cup with the national side.

Barça devoted a chunk of their club website to his farewell and former and present team-mates and coaches, among them Pep Guardiola, paid homage to their 36-year-old leader.

Puyol, who has captained the club since 2004, gave a press conference in front of his mother, brother, partner and friends and confirmed that an ongoing knee injury had forced him to retire. "We tried everything and I'd like to thank the doctors and physios for everything. We've not figured out a way to fix it, but I've not given up. I'll keep trying to sort it out but now without the pressure of having to play." – Agencies

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