Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa looks set to miss the Primera Division leaders' key game at home to Malaga this Sunday through injury.
Atletico could secure the trophy with a win over Malaga at the Estadio Vicente Calderon should Barcelona not win at Elche, but it remains more likely that the title will be decided when the current top two meet at the Camp Nou the following weekend.
The fitness of Costa -- who has scored 36 goals in all competitions this season -- is an extra concern for Diego Simeone, with May 24's Champions League final against Real Madrid in Lisbon also looming, and the club has not been able to offer an expected return date.
"Diego Costa has undergone some X-ray tests, which have found a grade one muscle injury in his right hamstring," a club statement on Friday morning read. "These tests have found that there is no tear. His availability will depend on how the injury evolves. The forward did not train with his teammates in Friday morning's session."
Meanwhile, Real Madrid and Spain right-back Alvaro Arbeloa -- who has had regular run-ins with Costa during the teams' derby clashes throughout recent seasons -- has told Spanish magazine Jot Down that he admires the Brazil-born striker.
"You see Diego Costa playing and you think: 'F---, this guy -- what things he does'," Arbeloa said. "Well, I would want a Diego Costa in my team -- a ballbreaker who goes for everything with every ball and bangs up against everyone. And when I play against him, I have to battle with him and that is that."