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Big game on a personal level for Quagliarella today.

Pretty amazing story.

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He was the Savior who became a traitor who was then forsaken and reconciled.

Fabio Quagliarella had reached the goal of his dreams, but a criminal stole both happiness and paradise from him.

Now he's out on the other side of hell, now he'll be returning home again - and now he's going to be historic as the most reliable target machine ever.

The whole of Italy has seen Fabio Quagliarella cry.

At the beginning of March 2017 he could finally tell. At last he was free to account for the almost incomprehensible crime he was subjected to, he could talk about the threats and extortion that destroyed his life and crushed his dream.

Fabio Quagliarella

The whole nation watched as he gave his interview to Italy 1, but yet it was Naples that Fabio Quagliarella turned to. His home, his paradise - and the city he was no longer welcome to.

- I have been protected and judged as a traitor. And believe me, to be judged in this way by their own people ... It hurts.

The eyes were full of tears when Quagliarella talked. At this time, he didn't even go home to Naples at all without wearing any kind of disguise.

- I hide my face, because I'm afraid someone will recognize me and say something. When my friends say we should go out, I just say, "No". I cannot fight with my own people, so I have only continued to talk to myself: "I hope the day will come". And now the wait is over, now is the day here.

Even today, Fabio Quagliarella uses a completely different brush when he describes his childhood years than when he talks about something else.

The colors become stronger, the words more murky - and it is not really that strange. What he had to be with at a young age is something that shapes an entire football life.

Quagliarella was born in Castellammare di Stabia, a kind of suburb of Naples. He fell for the football in the late 1980s, at the time when Diego Maradona conjured up miracles inside San Paolo and Naples ruled over Italy.

His father was that kind of man who worked hard on the weeks - at least when there were some chopping down in the harbors or on some of the paintings - then weeding the weekends to the family and football. He had double season tickets; one for the local team Juve Stabia and one for Napoli.

"Have never been able to forget about them"

Fabio Quagliarella was six years old when he went to San Paolo for the first time.

- It was so beautiful. I saw the match, but above all I looked at everything else; the fans, the colors, the lawn, the shirts. I stared at the faces, the expressions in them, the emotions that followed each other ... And I have never been able to forget them.

Of course, on the wall at home in the boy's room, a Maradona poster hung. A little guy might not be able to articulate his symbolic power, but he could at least feel it.

- It was a source of pride to have such a phenomenon with us. It helped us to be proud of Neapolitan.

The poster was still hanging when Fabio Quagliarella moved away from home. He was only 13 years old then, but the dream of becoming a football player was so strong that he followed it to the other end of Italy.

It was a joy that Torino wanted to bet on him, but of course at the same time a sadness that Napoli did not show any interest. So Fabio Quagliarella went north. He was going to fight for nearly 15 years to get back.

In the summer of 2009, Fabio Quagliarella finally wrote for Napoli, and it was just that type of football story that can't be avoided romanticizing.

The lost son was home again, the Savior had returned.

He was a 26-year-old national attacker by now, and in the first match at San Paolo, Quagliarella played as obsessed. After four minutes, he hit the bottom of the rib with one of his patented insanity shots from the middle circle, and then it only took five minutes before he encountered a volley in the net.

Quagliarella celebrated with the curvature, Quagliarella scored another goal, Quagliarella kissed the light blue shirt.

- He gets the whole city to dream, was the summed up row of Napoli fans newly composed song about him.

"See themselves in me"

The protagonist himself used the same kind of words when he returned the compliment. He had come home in a double sense; Rather than buying an evasive apartment by the sea, he had moved back into the parental home, the boy's room where the Maradona poster still remained.

- Napoli fans see themselves in me, it's really like someone got the chance to run down from the curve to play. I know I am not alone when I go out on the pitch, but I have the whole city with me. One goal here feels like one hundred elsewhere.

When the returneer was asked how long he was going to stay this time, he felt no need to guard himself.

- Azzurro per semper. A know. Blue forever. For life.

From that point it did not even take a year before Fabio Quagliarella signed up for Juventus, the club and the institution that Napoli supporters detest more than anything else in the football world.

Explaining what happened in between is so complicated and so unlikely that it actually requires an entire preliminary investigation, but simplified in summary, Fabio Quagliarella suffered from the most degrading kind of stalks.

For a few years he had received cryptic SMS to his phone - anonymous passive-aggressive hints that he was drug addicted or part of the Neapolitan mafia - and when he returned to Naples, everything escalated and exploded.

Instead of text messages, physical letters began to flow into the family home. Hundreds of letters that went from being bizarre accusation (Quagliarella engaged in child pornography) to being directly threatening (Quagliarella would be murdered).

- They often addressed my dad and my mother: "We'll shoot him in the legs, we'll beat him to death!".

Got pictures of chests sent

What the sender really wanted was impossible to know. There were never any demands - never any request for a kind of ransom - but everything just kept intensifying anyway. After a few months, pictures of coffins with Fabio Quagliarella's name began to be sent.

- I cried because I suffered, because I did not understand who it was that did this to me. I was afraid of my family's sake, my brothers and sisters and my eight young nephews. I was worried that they were in danger, and although I did not do anything wrong, I felt guilty. I thought, "It's because of me they have to go through this".

Fabio Quagliarella couldn't do it, he didn't stand out. After a year of mental terror, the only way out was to leave the city to escape Naples.

And the only Italian club that made an offer that Napoli was prepared to accept? Juventus.

It was like Vesuvius had an outbreak when hatred fell against Fabio Quagliarella and his family. Now the threats came from all directions, and Naples is not the kind of city where things can only be ignored.

Quagliarella was worried about real, because he knew the anger was real.

- I was afraid of everything. Many times I trained - did the exercises - but thought of my family in Naples, what would happen to them. I had left them, but people didn't know why. There was a massacre in Naples after I left.

After half a year, it was thought that Quagliarella would come back with Juventus, but the week before that day of the match he pulled off the crossband.

San Paolo celebrated with malicious banners that hailed the city's patron saint January: "Quagliarella: Saint January took care of you".

Throughout this immensely turbulent time, Fabio Quagliarella had to be silent, covered with donut by the legal system.

The police officer who investigated the case had convinced him that the investigation had to be kept secret. A solution approached, it was assured. As long as he did not realize he was suspicious, the guilty sooner or later would make a mistake.

Unlikely discovery

Quagliarella trusted the policeman, who over time became both a personal friend and a last lifeline back to some form of normality.

And of course, the mistake came - it was just that it was the police himself who did it, because it was the police himself who was the criminal.

Once the truth turned out, it was so unlikely that it got the whole Fabio Quagliarella's world to fall apart. The man who destroyed his life was thus the same man he entrusted with clearing it out.

Raffaele Piccolo was introduced to Fabio Quagliarella by a common friend, and worked with cyber crime and postal fraud. It was he who listened to all the horror stories that gave all the advice that raised all the notifications.

Or...? When the case was finally checked, it turned out that there were no notifications made, that no investigation or preliminary investigation was in progress.

Instead, an internal investigation was initiated against Raffale Piccolo, and when real police targeted a real criminal, it did not take long before it yielded results.

Piccolo had lived an unlikely double life, combined his police work with the role of manic stalker. It was not only Fabio Quagliarella who was affected, but there were some 20 vulnerable; doctors, lawyers, restaurateurs, shopkeepers.

The trial ended February 17, 2017, and Raffaele Piccolo was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

Fabio Quagliarella was finally free - free to others, free to tell - and less than two weeks later, both Naples and Italy saw him crying on television.

- It's not a good thing to say, but within me I feel hate towards this man.

At Napoli's next home game, the fans had made new banners, bigger than all those who had previously quacked Quagliarella: "You have lived through hell with immense dignity. We will embrace you again, Fabio, son of this city ”.

From start to finish, Raffaele Piccolo came to cost Fabio Quagliarella nearly eight happy, focused years of her career.

How would everything look like if none of this had happened?

The striker has reached the age of 36 now, but since Piccolo was sentenced to prison, he has played the best, most effective football throughout his career.

For a long time, it was said that he did indeed make grand goals, but that he was not a great scorer. Some flying heel and some breakneck 40-meter volleyball, but then six match long-run targets. An entire career at the top, but never more than 13 full hits during a Serie A season.

But then came the redemption, and last season saw Quagliarella's personal best with 19 goals for Sampdoria. And this season is about to become even bigger.

On October 28 last autumn Fabio Quagliarella hit a left wing on San Siro - and since then he has not stopped making goals.

Match after match, week after week, month after month ... Quagliarella has scored in just about every match he played. Six straight became nine straight became eleven straight and a tangent of Gabriel Batistuta's 24-year-old sweat record.

- It is unthinkable really. That my name stands next to Batistutas is incredible, it gives me shivers.

Today, Fabio Quagliarella can be historically the only record holder, and of course the match is played with the opportunity at San Paolo in Naples. At home fans there will be plenty of split football hearts that almost hope the Sampdoria striker will succeed.

- Sometimes I think of the film "Sliding Doors", and how things could have been different. When I played for Napoli I dreamed of staying there forever, about becoming a captain, winning things, becoming a beloved idol like Insigne or Hamsik ... If none of this had happened, I'm sure I still played there .

As a little boy, he had a poster of Maradona on the wall. Today, Fabio Quagliarella has hung up a framed picture of those supporter banners where Napoli fans proclaimed he was one of them again.

- I had never been able to imagine such a thing, it was something that filled my heart with a huge force. Probably I will never play for Napoli again, but when I saw those banners it was like they gave me the shirt back. It was better than any goal I ever made. Now I can head my head high in Naples again.

Sources: "Quagliarella - Il sogno spezzato" (Gifuni), Mediaset, Bleacher Report, Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere dello Sport, Il Mattino, Tuttosport, Il Napolist

https://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/fotboll/a/1klWJX/efter-de-osannolika-trakasserierna--nu-kan-han-bli-historisk

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  • 3 weeks later...
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16-0 at half time.  Their manager is 19 and they've forfeited 4 games this season.  If they forfeit another they're kicked out of the league.

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1 minute ago, BOF said:

16-0 at half time.  Their manager is 19 and they've forfeited 4 games this season.  If they forfeit another they're kicked out of the league.

Yeah they already had a points deduction

Now I know the window is closed but I would be happy for Villa to make a deal with UEFA to loan them some of our players ;)

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16 minutes ago, Zatman said:

Yeah they already had a points deduction

Now I know the window is closed but I would be happy for Villa to make a deal with UEFA to loan them some of our players ;)

Maybe Micah can help.

Sure he's already fluent in Italian having spent a season sitting in the stands at Fiorentina.

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I think it demonstrates just how fortunate we are to have such a strong league system in place in England.

When you think of some of the teams in our current 3rd division and the kind of attendances they get (Sunderland being the obvious one) it's incomparable.

I've long said the greatest strength in English football is not the top 4 or 5 teams but how strong our 4th division teams are and how well they're supported in a lot of cases.

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1 minute ago, villa4europe said:

i think maybe 4/5 years ago they restructured youth football in italy meaning they now actually have teams rather than loaning out 40 players to the teams in serie B and C and they scrapped the co-ownership stuff

 

think so, Juventus Under 21 is in the same league as the team that lost 20-0

maybe Ronaldo will ask to drop down to play vs them to boost his stats :P 

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Can't remember whether it was The Football Ramble spinoff On The Continent or whether it was The Guardian Football Weekly but I've heard it mentioned 2-3 times that the Italian FA recently permitted Serie A sides to enter their U/21s into the lower leagues and thus far Juventus are the only club organised enough to be able to manage this. Gives a pretty clear picture of the current state of the other clubs in Italian football and probably the FA itself.

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A little read up on Piatek:

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Everyone looked - no concept of what they saw

Document: Erik Niva on Milan's successful acquisition Krzysztof Piątek

Nowadays, every match of an armada is studied by scouts armed with statistical programs and analysis models.

Still, one of the world's most effective attackers ran around in a bad team in a weak league ahead of empty stands just nine months ago.

Everyone looked at him. No one seemed to understand what it was they saw.

All tax hackers are driven by the idea of the hidden gem - but that dream is virtually erased from today's elite football.

The undiscovered diamond is no longer available.

All players in all leagues are mapped into the smallest detail. Just every scout has access to just about every match, broken down into detailed statistical analysis.

Of course, a Portuguese club can still find value in the Brazilian league, but it is not that anyone in the type Allsvenskan could take the step to one of the European big league and immediately score goals higher than Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane .

Or...?

Just nine months ago, Krzysztof Piątek still ran around in Polish Ekstraklasa, a league with clearly poorer international ranking than the Allsvenskan. He played for the low-profile midfield Cracovia, and his last five games attracted an average audience of 2,529 spectators.

Still, he was recruited to the Serie A .

The transition itself was not sensational in itself - all troops need a wide player - but expectations were low on the border with non-existent. Not a single supporter and not a single reporter was there to welcome him when he arrived in Italy.

But then Krzysztof Piątek began to play, and then Krzysztof Piątek began to score.

In his first training match, he had made hattrick after ten minutes, five goals before the break. In his first match match - the cup against Lecce - he scored four goals in the first half.

In the Serie A premiere, he scored goals after six minutes, and during his first seven league games he scored a total of nine goals.

Six months have passed since then, but Krzysztof Piątek has still not stopped making goals.

It is no longer possible to talk about slumps and coincidences. It is just to say that there was a complete world forwards from the lower half of the Polish league, a ready-made diamond that was just waiting to be dug up.

▪▪▪The first time I saw Krzysztof Piątek play myself was just over a year and a half ago, in the summer of 2017.

I noticed him without noticing him, if you understand what I mean.

It was the U21 EM in Poland, and Sweden was a few minutes away from knocking out the home management. In a desperate last attempt, the Poles made their third change and threw in their reserve striker in the 88th minute.

A single minute took it - then that guy had tricked Filip Dagerstål and provoked a receipt penalty.

It was Krzysztof Piątek, but I would lie if I stated that I saw something special in that observer without obvious excellence. If there was any type of career island, my assessment was that he was just behind Gustav Engvall in it.

But then came the turning point, the upswing.

Two days after the incident against Sweden, it became clear that Krystof Piątek would get a new coach at home in the club team. Michał Probierz had sensationally brought little Jagiellonia Białystok to a second place in the league - the club's best ever position - but still chose to resign for a move to the right mediocre Cracovia.

Thinking in other courses

It was a career decision that was difficult to comprehend at all, but Michał Probierz is the kind of person who thinks in other paths than the obvious and sees what others do not see.

He had identified a hidden potential in Cracovia, primarily embodied by a casual striker who was on the threshold of world-class without even knowing about it himself.

The U21 EM had become a failure, but back in the club team, Krzysztof Piątek barely even started his pre-season training before his coach announced that he would reach the absolute summit.

- I used to say that the biggest clubs would fight for Robert Lewandowski, but then I was laughed at. Now I say that Krystof Piątek will go the same way, reach the same heights. He has all the attributes required - if he doesn't use them, it's his own fault.

The effect was not immediate. Six goals on the first sixteen league games were quite okay, but it was not at all the level that Michał Probierz expected Piątek to be on.

He demanded better focus, greater concentration - and he did it before the press.

- I usually never criticize my players publicly, but with Krzysztof I have no choice. I've talked to him about his performance several times, but individual conversations don't seem to help. But he must change his behavior, otherwise he will never take his step.

What Michał Probierz turned to was the frustrated gestures against teammates, the restless impatience that took over Piątek's game as soon as the match didn't go as he wanted.

Suddenly fell into place

The coach was convinced that it was the last - but crucial - piece of the puzzle. And suddenly it fell into place.

Krzysztof Piątek found his own mental space, the place where he could perform in a way that made his potential fair. And Michał Probierz had been right. Everything else was there; goal setting, understanding of the game, functional technology, strength, speed.

- When I first started working with coach Probierz I wasted a lot of situations on the plan. I was very frustrated, could think of a missed chance for three days. I drowned myself in all those thoughts. But coach Probierz changed my attitude. Now I have more patience, he taught me to think positively.

Sounds easy? Well, it is quite easy to unlock a door for it with the right permission, for the one who found the key. And the key that Piątek wore on led to the very finest salon, where only the premier football dignitaries have access.

Michał Probierz repeated his message until it became a mantra: Krzysztof Piątek was to become the new Robert Lewandowski. He even went around and called his attack adage for "Lewy".

- He had this idea for me, this vision for me. And just as he said, I tried to use Lewandowski as a model. I looked at how he played, but also went into detail on how he lived. I was experimenting with eating a gluten-free diet like him, but it turned out that my body didn't need it.

The purely sporting challenge from the coach to Krzysztof Piątek had been clearly formulated: One goal per match.

It was the cut of the very best battles in the world - that was the production rate Robert Lewandowski held in FC Bayern - and that was the level Michał Probierz demanded by Krzysztof Piątek in Poland before agreeing to release him to a larger league.

For quite a year ago, the striker reached it.

From the end of February onwards, he scored twelve goals in the thirteen final league matches, and Michał Probierz was confident that it was not only due to the modest resistance.

It was not just the goals, but the overall picture and the total contribution. Krzysztof Piątek was ready and ready. He was an international top class striker now, and the question was really just who more than him would discover it first.

- We have agreed that he should leave us for a sum of three to five million euros, and those who do not pay such a run sum to pick him up from Poland will regret it. He will quickly be worth the double.

▪▪▪For Genoa, Krzysztof Piątek could just as well have become a video pack. They had been following him for a long time - but they had never endeavored to see him live.

It was a risk they could cost themselves.

Buying Krzysztof Piątek for four million euros was simply not a big deal for them. He was just their fifth largest enlistment during last summer's transfer window.

A pre-season training and a few matches later they realized that they stumbled across something that was much larger than they could even imagine themselves.

- I'm practically afraid to talk about Piątek because I risk putting too much pressure on him, but he really looks like a complete striker. My impression is that he will be a very important player in a very short time, but I try to whisper it rather than shouting it, "coach Davide Ballardini cheered after the season's first Series A match.

"I know my value"

At least surprised by everyone, Krzysztof Piątek seemed to be himself.

- I know my value, and I know I can do what I can. My ambition is to score goals in every match I play.

Already when you arrived in Italy you said that the level difference was less than you expected.

- It was so I knew. The pace is a bit higher, but the training is largely the same here. It's a bit of an Italian myth that it rubs theory until it comes out of our ears and that all tactics are so extremely advanced. If anything, it is harder to come to the Polish league because the law is so defensively oriented there. Here I usually come to at least three closing positions per match - and if I only do that, I expect to do at least one goal.

▪▪▪When we summed up the fall, Krzysztof Piątek was the most effective Series A debutant in 59 years, and it was obvious that it took him less than six months to grow too big for Genoa.

Remaining in Poland, his old coach and mentor Michał Probierz sat and picked up what-where-I-sa-points.

- Now they say in Italy that Piątek is worth 60 million euros, and when they say something like that, everyone listens. When I started talking about him that way, everyone thought I was an idiot. But his ability was obvious to anyone who cared to look after properly.

Still, Barcelona did not recruit the pole - as it was rumored for a while - but it was Milan who saw the opportunity to upgrade Gonzalo Higuain and acquire a really reliable striker for the first time since Zlatan Ibrahimovic played there.

They hardly regret it.

On his first four starts for Milan, Krzysztof Piątek has scored six goals. Each time he celebrates blowing away imaginary gunpowder smoke from his fingers like after a revolver duel, and in Italy they call him "Il Pistolero" nowadays. Milan fans have quickly composed their own tribute song, complete with shot sounds and everything.

If everything went just like Krzysztof Piątek himself wanted? Well, there is one thing that still gnaws in him a little. Although the goals flow in there is something in him that thinks there is something a little unclean about them because they are made in sweater number 19.

- It's nothing to hide. When I talked to Milan's club management, I made no secret of wanting to really have number 9. But the club wanted to keep it a bit reserved, not only to give away Van Basten's and Inzaghi's numbers but keep it until someone really deserved it. I was allowed to understand that I must first prove something, give something to the club. So we'll see. I want that shirt.

What numbers are required to reach number 9? 9 goals, 19 goals, 90 goals ?! Well, it will show. Krzysztof Piątek will do them.

https://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/fotboll/a/qnqAg0/alla-tittade--ingen-begrep-vad-de-sag

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4 hours ago, sne said:

As cautious I am of 'one season wonders' he seems to be the real deal. He doesn't just tap it in, he creates, pulls defenders, scores amazing goals and seems like a really good personality.

I can honestly see him as the next Barca/Real/Man City striker.

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talk of him being a gem, genoa took a chance on him, 6 months later milan sign him, agree if he keeps it up he'll be sniffed out by a proper big team

the whole thing is kind of **** though isnt it?  the big boys no longer need to scour the lower european leagues or take chances, let other teams that are powerless when they come calling do that for them

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1 hour ago, villa4europe said:

talk of him being a gem, genoa took a chance on him, 6 months later milan sign him, agree if he keeps it up he'll be sniffed out by a proper big team

the whole thing is kind of **** though isnt it?  the big boys no longer need to scour the lower european leagues or take chances, let other teams that are powerless when they come calling do that for them

Yeah maybe so, but Genoa did not have to sell him. He literally just signed for them for a small fee.

They made big money on him and can strengthen across the pitch. I think everyone wins in this scenario. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Congrats to Juve for clinching another title, winning away at Napoli tonight putting the 16 points clear at the top.

Lively game with 9 yellow and 2 red cards.

Will be their 8th straight title win.

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Shame about such a fantastic stadium, but I can see why they would want a more modern stadium with all that comes with it.

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San Siro to be demolished and rebuilt by 2023

nuovo.archivio.foto.sansiro.immagine.not

 
04 March at 14:25
The San Siro Stadium is reportedly expected to be demolished in favor of a bigger and more modern stadium that Inter Milan and AC Milan are expected to use from around 2023.

The San Siro was built in 1926 and was overseen by the then rossoneri president Piero Pirelli. It now appears as though both the clubs are about to strike an agreement to build a new stadium of a capacity of more than 60,000.

La Republicca state that the municipal council has given green light to the project. While Milan have given the approval, Inter are yet to give it but they are expected to say 'yes' to it.

The new stadium will be more modern than the San Siro and will likely have new sports and recreational facilities, apart from shopping centres.

It will be built about 100 metres away from where the San Siro is, with the project expected to cost about 600 million euros.

The report also claims that this will be the most innovate stadium project in Europe. Recently, top officials from both Milan and Inter were on a trip to the United States with executives from Goldman Sachs to study the way stadiums like the MetLife have been built and maintained.

https://www.calciomercato.com/en/news/san-siro-to-be-demolished-and-rebuilt-by-2023-59831

One of the cooler stadiums I ever visited, like a giant spaceship when they turn the lights on at night.

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yep ive heard the same too, pretty much all of the stadiums built or refurbed for italia 90 are either ****, not fit for purpose or still crippling the local government with debt

maybe bad timing with the rule changes during the 90s and the flood of cash in to football after italia 90, maybe just the stereotypical italian construction 

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