Diego Simeone praised Antoine Griezmann as a “different” talent who can give his Atletico Madrid side the edge in Sunday’s LaLiga derby with Real Madrid (Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+).

The match pits league leaders Real, who are on a nine-game winning streak in all competitions, against last season’s champions Atletico, who are 10 points behind in the table.

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Griezmann — who returned to Atletico from Barcelona last summer after two unhappy seasons at Camp Nou — has been a persistent thorn in ’s side over the years, scoring six times in derbies during his first stint at the club.

“Antoine always wanted to come back and be where he wants to be,” Simeone said in a news conference on Saturday. “Let’s hope he can keep improving and growing because we need him, with the effort he’s made in recent games, and nobody will take all the talent he has away from him.

“That’s what makes him different in our team. Talent plus sacrifice, plus effort, plus knowing how to compete. What can I say about Antoine that he hasn’t already shown on the pitch?”

Simeone confirmed that Luis Suarez — who was substituted after feeling discomfort early in Atletico’s midweek Champions League win at Porto — would be available for Sunday’s derby.

The clash will also feature Karim Benzema, after Real coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed he had recovered from a minor hamstring problem.

“Benzema has trained well today, he feels good, he is available and he will play,” Ancelotti said on Saturday.

Benzema — who has 12 goals and seven assists in LaLiga so far this season, topping both categories — was hailed as “the lighthouse of ’s football” by Simeone, while Ancelotti was also keen to praise his opposite number.

“[Simeone] has built something important,” the Italian said. “He has put [] among the best clubs in Europe, fighting every year, winning trophies, he has done impeccably.

“What has happened with Simeone is what every coach wants, to stay at a club for a long time and make his mark. It’s the dream of every coach. Let’s hope it can happen for me at Madrid.”



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