Tottenham have completed the signing of defender Cristian Romero for a reported fee of £47million.

The Argentina international has put pen to paper on a reported five-year contract with the north London club.

The 23-year-old becomes Tottenham's third signing under Nuno Espirito Santo following the arrival of winger Bryan Gil from Sevilla and the loan acquisition of Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, whom Romero played alongside in 2020-21.

Romero is also the second-most expensive transfer in Spurs' history after Tanguy Ndombele's £53.8m switch from Lyon in 2019.

After beginning his career with spells at Belgrano and Genoa, the centre-half failed to make a competitive appearance during his two-year stint with Juventus, spending the entire time out on loan.

Atalanta signed him on loan with a purchase option in September 2020 and Romero went on to play 42 times in all competitions last season as the Bergamo club recorded a third-place finish in Serie A and reached the Coppa Italia final.

Atalanta triggered their purchase option on Romero before then selling him on to Spurs.

Romero's performances led to his senior international debut against Chile prior to this year's Copa America, in which he made three appearances and started the final as Argentina beat Brazil to end their 28-year wait for a major trophy.

His arrival provides a much-needed boost to the Tottenham back line, following the departures of Toby Alderweireld and Juan Foyth earlier in the window.

Romero will compete with Davinson Sanchez, Joe Rodon and Eric Dier for a place in the heart of the defence, and could make his debut when Spurs launch their Premier League campaign against reigning champions Manchester City on August 15.

Tottenham have completed the signing of defender Cristian Romero for a reported fee of £47million.

The Argentina international has put pen to paper on a reported five-year contract with the north London club.

The 23-year-old becomes Tottenham's third signing under Nuno Espirito Santo following the arrival of winger Bryan Gil from Sevilla and the loan acquisition of Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, whom Romero played alongside in 2020-21.

Romero is also the second-most expensive transfer in Spurs' history after Tanguy Ndombele's £53.8m switch from Lyon in 2019.

After beginning his career with spells at Belgrano and Genoa, the centre-half failed to make a competitive appearance during his two-year stint with Juventus, spending the entire time out on loan.

Atalanta signed him on loan with a purchase option in September 2020 and Romero went on to play 42 times in all competitions last season as the Bergamo club recorded a third-place finish in Serie A and reached the Coppa Italia final.

Atalanta triggered their purchase option on Romero before then selling him on to Spurs.

Romero's performances led to his senior international debut against Chile prior to this year's Copa America, in which he made three appearances and started the final as Argentina beat Brazil to end their 28-year wait for a major trophy.

His arrival provides a much-needed boost to the Tottenham back line, following the departures of Toby Alderweireld and Juan Foyth earlier in the window.

Romero will compete with Davinson Sanchez, Joe Rodon and Eric Dier for a place in the heart of the defence, and could make his debut when Spurs launch their Premier League campaign against reigning champions Manchester City on August 15.

Where will Lionel Messi land?

Barcelona's shock announcement of his departure set rumours flying.

Will it be Paris, Manchester or somewhere else?

 

TOP STORY - MESSI ON THE MARKET

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are rumoured to be the top suitors for Lionel Messi.

The French giants have already made contact with Messi's representatives, according to Fabrizio Romano, and are seen in many quarters as the favourites to land the Argentine forward.

It remains to be seen wherher PSG can take on Messi after making several major moves during the transfer window, while City may be in a similarly difficult situation after finalising their £100million deal for Jack Grealish on Thursday.

A reunion with Pep Guardiola may still be a possibility, though, especially if Tottenham refuse to engage in talks around a Harry Kane deal.

Major League Soccer could also be a possibility, though Messi is expected to remain in Europe for at least a few more years.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have not given up on a move for Kieran Trippier, though they have not come close to Atletico Madrid's £34million demands for the England international, The Sun says.

- West Ham are in talks with Fiorentina for centre-back Nikola Milenkovic, Fabrizio Romano reports, with the Serie A side eyeing Matija Nastasic of Schalke as a replacement.

- Arsenal have bid £17m for Lazio striker Joaquin Correa, claims Corriere dello Sport.

- Juventus are interested in bringing back Barcelona's Miralem Pjanic on either a loan or a permanent deal, says Calciomercato.

- Roma are lining up a £21m bid for Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, says Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Crystal Palace are among multiple clubs hoping to lure Adam Armstrong from Blackburn, with the Daily Mail saying they are favoured ahead of Norwich City and Southampton.

For the first time in his career, Lionel Messi is looking for a new club.

Barcelona announced on Thursday contract talks had been unsuccessful due to the "economic and structural obstacles" of LaLiga's salary restrictions.

Messi's next step is far from obvious, but what if we imagine money is no object and he could play for anyone he chooses? What if the thrill of the game were more important to him than winning a fifth Champions League? What if he threw caution to the wind and went somewhere just for fun?

We've has imagined such a scenario, and these are the teams we'd love to see him play for...

 

AJAX

The link between Ajax and Barca goes beyond the basics of football: it's a shared ideology, a philosophical connection, a spiritual understanding.

From Johan Cruyff to Ronald Koeman, plenty of players and coaches have shared the love of both clubs, but Messi moving to Amsterdam would turn the romance up to 11.

Messi as the focal point of an Ajax side – who are beautiful to watch as it is – is a wonderful idea. He will certainly know all about the club from former player and close friend Luis Suarez.

Given the players Barca have signed from Ajax in the past – Frenkie de Jong the latest – it would be nice to see a player going in the opposite direction.

ATALANTA

Gian Piero Gasperini's side have captured the hearts of the football world in recent seasons, threatening title challenges in Serie A and coming close to reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2019-20.

They have done all this on a modest budget, playing vibrant, attacking football, and all during a global pandemic that struck Bergamo and the Lombardy region particularly hard.

The way Argentine Alejandro Gomez pulled the strings for Atalanta in the past was a joy to watch, but imagine if compatriot Messi were in that role. Imagine him again facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus. Imagine Marten de Roon's Twitter feed.

Glorious, isn't it?

COLOGNE

The GOAT and the Billy Goats – what could be better?

Cologne have gone through some tricky times but will hope to be on the up again in the Bundesliga after surviving a relegation play-off last term.

They might not have won the title since 1978, but they are among Germany's most esteemed clubs, with an ardent fan base and a beautiful home city. If Messi could lead them to challenge the might of Bayern Munich, it would be an unforgettable story.

If not... well, they have a goat as a mascot, for goodness' sake. It's too perfect.

LEEDS UNITED

It might be too early for Messi to return to Newell's Old Boys, but what if he joined up with Rosario's other most famous footballing export in Yorkshire?

Leeds United returned to the Premier League with a bang last season, continuing their progress under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa and his big blue bucket.

The chance to truly awaken a sleeping giant of the English game and take Leeds to the next level while playing for the man who inspired Pep Guardiola sounds like an opportunity that's too good to miss.

Plus, if he wanted to visit Pep, Manchester is less than an hour away by train.

Jack Grealish's mooted move to Manchester City appears set to imminently go through.

City manager Pep Guardiola has long admired the 25-year-old England midfielder.

English champions City have also been linked with Harry Kane as they chase an elusive Champions League crown.

TOP STORY - GREALISH BOOKED IN FOR MAN CITY MEDICAL

Aston Villa's Grealish is on the cusp of completing his £100million transfer to join Manchester City, according to the Birmingham Mail.

The report claims Grealish was due to arrive in Manchester on Wednesday, with a medical booked in.

Grealish returned from a holiday after Euro 2020 this week and was spotted at Villa training on Wednesday but has since reportedly headed north.

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sports claims Aston Villa are lining up a move for Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell as they prepare for Grealish to depart.

- Tottenham are plotting moves for PSV's Noni Madueke and Denmark's Euro 2020 star Mikkel Damsgaard according to the Evening Standard, as they plan their windfall from Harry Kane's potential sale to Manchester City.

- Fresh from Danny Ings leaving for Villa, Southampton are closing in on Blackburn forward Adam Armstrong, reports Football League World.

- The Sun claims Norwich City are looking to launch a £15m bid for Blackburn's Armstrong too. Irish prospect Adam Idah could be included in a player-plus-cash deal.

- Atalanta are set to hold talks with Chelsea for a move for striker Tammy Abraham according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel labelled Romelu Lukaku a "fantastic player" but has refused to be drawn on potentially signing the Internazionale striker.

The European champions have been heavily linked with the Belgium international, who was on Chelsea's books from 2011 to 2014.

Inter reportedly rejected Chelsea's second offer worth £85m (€100m) along with Marcos Alonso for Lukaku, with the Blues set to table another bid believed to be worth £102m (€120m).

Tuchel would not be drawn on the situation following Chelsea's 2-2 friendly draw with Tottenham.

“I will not talk about players who don't play in my squad," Tuchel told reporters. "He's a fantastic player but he's an Inter player and I will not talk about him in this situation."

Chelsea are yet to make any major signings this off-season but have also been linked with a big-money move for Erling Haaland.

Tuchel added: “You can imagine a lot of players want to come and join but we will not talk about that.

“The board isn't offering players, that's not how it works. We talk to the board about players, have our own opinions, and in the end we target players who in our opinion could make our squad strong, which is quite a challenge.

“There are some players of which we think they can be a good target and improvement in our squad. I will not comment on names as I don't like it when other coaches speak about my players. So hopefully you understand that.”

Lukaku scored 24 goals from 36 games in Serie A as Inter won the Scudetto in 2020-21.

Christian Eriksen has returned to Inter's training ground for the first time since his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 in Denmark's opener against Finland.

In worrying scenes in June, Eriksen was given CPR after collapsing on the pitch, while his team-mates formed a protective screen around him, before subsequently receiving successful heart surgery.

Eriksen, 29, was then fitted with a pacemaker before going home to recover in Denmark, where he has undergone a host of further medical tests to discover why the cardiac arrest happened.

The former Tottenham midfielder visited Inter's training ground on Wednesday and the 2020-21 Scudetto winners said he was in "excellent physical condition".

A statement released on the club's official website said: "Eriksen, who greeted managers, coaches, team-mates and all the staff present, is fine and in excellent mental and physical condition.

"Eriksen will follow the recovery programme proposed by the Danish doctors in Copenhagen, who will coordinate all the clinical follow-up and will always keep the Inter Milan medical staff informed."

If Eriksen did want to return for Inter, however, he would have to have his ICD – a device connected to his heart to regulate abnormal rhythms – removed due to Italian restrictions preventing people playing contact sport with such devices in operation.

Other European countries, though, do not follow the same protocols as seen in the example of Daley Blind, who continued to regularly feature for Ajax after he had an ICD fitted in 2019.

Eriksen joined Inter, who open their new campaign against Genoa on August 21, in January 2020 and made 26 appearances in their title-winning season.

European champions Chelsea have been in the market for a new striker this off-season.

The Blues chased Erling Haaland without success and have now set their sights on Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku was on Chelsea's books from 2011 and 2014 but has since become one of the world's best forwards.

 

TOP STORY - CHELSEA TO TABLE NEW BUMPER LUKAKU BID

Chelsea  are preparing to table a new bid of between £100million and £110m (€120-130m) bid for Inter forward  Lukaku  claims Fabrizio Romano.

The Blues had an initial £85m (€100m) offer, including Marcos Alonso, for the Belgian striker rejected by Inter.

The Sun claim Lukaku is keen on a return to Chelsea, citing "unfinished business" from his previous stint in London.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are not guaranteed to retain Real Madrid target  Kylian Mbappe , reports AS. The France superstar has already informed PSG that he will not extend his current contract, due to expire in 2022, and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is set to take over talks.

- Aymeric Laporte has told Manchester City he wants to leave to return to Spain this off-season, reports 90min. Barcelona and Real Madrid are both interested in the Spain international, who is not first choice at City.

- Arsenal have proposed a player-plus-cash deal, believed to be worth £60m, for Leicester City's James Maddison according to Football.London, but negotiations are "very slow". 

- Tottenham will complete a £47m (€55m) deal for Atalanta defender  Cristian Romero imminently according to Romano. Atalanta will fill the void by signing Merih Demiral from Juventus.

Chelsea are in the market for a striker and are seemingly keen on one of their former players.

Romelu Lukaku helped Inter to the Serie A title last term and is seemingly in Chelsea's sights.

The Belgium international scored four goals at Euro 2020 after netting 24 times in Serie A.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA REBUFFED IN LUKAKU BID

Chelsea have had their initial bid worth approximately £86 million (€100m) for Lukaku rejected by Inter, reports The Sun.

The Blues made their transfer offer with defender Marcos Alonso also involved, but the Italian champions are demanding a £100m (€117m) fee.

Lukaku is said to be Chelsea's number one target after failing in their bid to lure Erling Haaland away from Borussia Dortmund.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are still expecting Kylian Mbappe to let his Paris Saint-Germain contract expire at the end of the 2021-22 season and join Los Blancos for free, according to AS.

- The Daily Star reports Manchester City and Tottenham are still unable to reach agreement in negotiations over Harry Kanewith £40m separating them currently.

- AS claims Barcelona remain in the box seat to sign highly sought-after Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez despite their financial challenges. Saul has been chased by Premier League trio LiverpoolManchester United and Chelsea.

Atalanta are set to win the race to sign Juventus defender Merih Demiral, claims Sky Deutschland, with Cristian Romero looking likely to join Tottenham. Bundesliga pair Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen were also interested in the Turkey international.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has switched his attention from Arsenal's Granit Xhaka to Dortmund's Thomas Delaney, according to Bild.

Roma have completed the signing of Eldor Shomurodov from Serie A rivals Genoa.

The Uzbekistan forward has made the move to the Stadio Olimpico on a five-year deal, with Roma paying Genoa an initial fee of €17.5 million.

As part of the transfer, Genoa have retained the right to a percentage of any profit made from a future sale of Shomurodov.

"Joining Roma represents a huge step forward in my career – I will do everything I can to show I deserve this opportunity and to demonstrate what I can do at one of the biggest clubs in the world," Shomurodov told Roma's official website.

"The speed in which this deal was agreed is testament to my desire to be able to join up with the coach and my new team-mates and get to work as soon as possible.”

 

Shomurodov scored eight goals in 31 league appearances for Genoa last season, outperforming his expected goals (xG) of 5.8 from 39 shots.

He also created 20 chances but only one of those led to an assist.

Roma will begin their first Serie A campaign under Jose Mourinho with a home game against Fiorentina on August 22.

Giorgio Chiellini is convinced Massimiliano Allegri is the right man to reclaim the Scudetto for Juventus following the failed Andrea Pirlo experiment.

Celebrated former midfielder Pirlo failed to guide the Bianconeri to a 10th successive Serie A title last season and was sacked in May, before the halfway point of a two-year deal.

Allegri was named as Pirlo's successor on the same day for a second spell in charge, having previously guided Juve to five league titles, four Coppas Italia and two Champions League finals.

Juve amassed 142 wins in their 190 league games under Allegri – only Giovanni Trapattoni has overseen more matches – giving him a win percentage of 74.74, clear of second-placed Antonio Conte (72.81), who managed 83 triumphs from 114 matches.

During his five seasons with Juve, Allegri suffered just 20 league defeats, with his team scoring 380 goals and conceding 125 in return, averaging 2.39 points per game.

Allegri is responsible for three of the seven Juventus seasons during which they have netted 100 goals or more, meanwhile, alongside Pirlo, Conte and Jesse Carver.

Chiellini was a part of that successful period at the club and will likely play a key role in this latest new era for Juventus after penning a two-year contract extension on Monday.

Allegri's immediate aim is to win back the title from Inter, while also seeing off competition from the likes of Milan and Atalanta, and experienced centre-back Chiellini is ready to do his bit.

"I am happy to see him again," Chiellini told Juventus TV. "He gave me and everyone a great deal. 

"I've kept in contact with the lads, and they've told me he's really fired up for the start of the season. I'm convinced he is the right man to take this team back to the top and create a new cycle.

"I am here to give my contribution, above all on the field, but off it too."

 

Chiellini has made 535 appearances for Juventus since joining in 2004 but has played just 21 times in Serie A since the start of 2019-20, partly due to injury.

He showed his quality at Euro 2020 as he helped Italy to their first continental crown in 53 years, starting five of the Azzurri's seven matches in the tournament.

The Livorno product produced six clearances, which was four more than any other Italy player, while also leading the way for interceptions (three) and aerial duels (seven).

After putting an end to potential retirement talk by putting pen to paper with Juve, Chiellini is now eyeing up a place in Italy's World Cup squad for Qatar 2022.

"The World Cup is just over a year away, so we'll see," he said. "I always want to enjoy every moment and to think of the present. 

"If I am fortunate enough to be in good shape and able to participate in the World Cup, then I'll be happy. If I don't, then I'll be happy anyway.

"I've learned over the last few years that the only secret is to live in the moment and without thinking of faraway objectives.

"Now we need to get the engine going again after these few weeks when I needed time to recover, then we'll take it one week at a time, game by game, and see where we end up."

Giorgio Chiellini has, as expected, re-signed with Juventus following the announcement of a new two-year contract.

Chiellini, 36, technically ceased to be a Juve player when his previous deal expired at the end of June after 17 years with the club.

His agent, who referred to potential retirement talk after Euro 2020 success as "madness", suggested Chiellini was open to hearing offers from other clubs, not just Juve.

Though it was always widely believed he would sign on again in Turin, Monday's confirmation put any doubts to bed.

The deal also suggests Chiellini has designs on featuring for Italy at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the veteran seemingly deciding to carry on with the Azzurri after Euro 2020.

Chiellini's performances in that tournament were evidence enough that he is far from finished at the top, his defensive dominance a vital element of an Italy team that played entertaining football but were also solid at the back.

He was colossal in the final as Italy beat England on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Chiellini produced six clearances – four more than any other Italy player – and three interceptions, won more aerial duels (7) than anyone else in blue and completed 95.7 per cent of his 115 passes.

Juve will hope to see a little more of that Chiellini themselves in 2021-22, given he has played just 21 Serie A matches since the start of 2019-20, partly due to injury. 

He featured 17 times in 2020-21 as the club failed to win a 10th successive Scudetto.

Chiellini has made 535 appearances for Juventus since joining them in 2004, while he has also played 112 times for his country.

He has won the Scudetto nine times and claimed five Coppa Italia titles.

Olivier Giroud is excited to start a new chapter in his career in Serie A and says "God wanted me to play for Milan".

The 34-year-old joined the Rossoneri in a reported €2million (£1.7m) deal on July 17, bringing an end to his nine-year stay in the Premier League with Arsenal and more recently Chelsea.

Giroud is looking forward to adding to his trophy collection during his time in Italy having won Ligue 1 with Montpellier before lifting the FA Cup four times tasting glory in the Champions League and Europa League during his time in England.

"I won many trophies at every club I've been at and would like to do the same here," he said at his official unveiling on Monday. 

"I do have an objective in my mind during my time here, but I don't want to reveal it, otherwise there will be too much pressure. Let's just say my final objective is to win with Milan."

Giroud is thought to have signed a two-year deal with Milan and is following in the steps of legendary figures such as Gunnar Nordahl, Filippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko.

And the France international leaned on one of those iconic figures before putting pen to paper with the Italian giants.

"The time had come to leave Chelsea and discover a new league. God wanted me to play for Milan," he said. 

"This is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I really believe in the project here. We've got what it takes to have a very good Champions League campaign.

"When I was young, I watched Milan games with Shevchenko and he later became a dear friend who I asked for advice.

"It's an honour for me to be at a club where so many great stars have played and it was emotional talking to [director] Paolo Maldini, too.

"I want to give my contribution, be a big brother to the players and bring my experience. I hope also to be remembered as a good person and not just a great player."

 

Giroud found starts hard to come by at Chelsea following Thomas Tuchel's arrival in late January, though he did make his mark felt in his final campaign at Stamford Bridge.

The World Cup winner netted five times in Chelsea's Champions League-winning campaign, four of those goals coming in the Blues' 4-0 victory at Sevilla in the group stage.

That made him the oldest player (34 years, 63 days) to score a hat-trick in the Champions League/European Cup since Ferenc Puskas (38y, 173d) for Real Madrid in 1965.

He arrives at Milan as a European champion and has inherited the number nine shirt, which is one of the most iconic jerseys in football but has more recently become a poisoned chalice of sorts.

Mario Mandzukic, Krzysztof Piatek and Gonzalo Higuain have all failed to live up to its reputation in recent years, yet Giroud is unfazed by the weight of expectation.

"I am not superstitious. A shirt number cannot change the way I play," he said.

"Strikers like Inzaghi, Marco van Basten and Jean-Pierre Papin wore this shirt for Milan, but I don't feel the pressure."

Giroud will link up with another Milan great this coming season in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has 25 goals in 37 Serie A appearances since returning to San Siro in January 2020.

Grenoble product Giroud will turn 35 next month but is inspired by 39-year-old Ibrahimovic to continue playing at the top for as long as possible.

"My age means nothing," he said. "Zlatan is a few years older than me, but it's all about your mentality. With the right motivation, you can still push hard."

Giroud scored with his first touch as a Milan player in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Nice. Stefano Pioli's men face Valencia in their next pre-season outing on Wednesday.

Jack Grealish has been holidaying following Euro 2020, but it is now decision time on his club future.

Speculation has mounted over the past few days about a potential move to Manchester City.

City manager Pep Guardiola is a long-term admirer of Grealish, and a big-money bid has apparently been sanctioned by chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak.

TOP STORY - GREALISH SET FOR MONDAY TALKS WITH VILLA

Grealish has returned from his off-season holiday and will hold showdown talks with Aston Villa on Monday as a move to City looms, reports The Mirror.

Grealish has been linked with a £100million move to the English champions and is expected to inform Villa of his intention to leave.

Villa have reportedly offered Grealish a bumper new deal worth £200,000-a-week.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham have turned their attention to Wolves winger Adama Traore, according to the Daily Mail. Wolves reportedly want £45m for the Spain international, who would be re-acquainted with manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Goal claims Leeds United are also interested in Traore.

Atletico Madrid are preparing for Kieran Trippier to exit the club as links with Manchester United intensify, with the Spanish champions lining up a move for Roma's Alessandro Florenzi, claims AS.

Atletico are also pursuing Inter's Lautaro Martinez and have moved ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign the Argentina international, according to Tuttosport.

- Borussia Dortmund's Denmark international Thomas Delaney is being pursued SouthamptonNorwich City and Crystal Palace, reports Ruhr Nachrichten.

- ABC claims Real Madrid will offer forward Karim Benzema a new one-year contract extension.

Massimiliano Allegri shrugged off talk of a possible Juventus return for Miralem Pjanic, saying Aaron Ramsey could instead be used in a deeper role this season.

Pjanic left for Barcelona last year in a swap deal with Arthur, but his time in Spain has been unhappy, the midfielder starting just six LaLiga games under Ronald Koeman in 2020-21.

There is speculation the 31-year-old wants to move back to Turin, where he could reunite with Allegri, the coach under whom he won six trophies in Italy.

Allegri, though, appears more interested in transforming Ramsey into a defensive midfielder ahead of the start of 2021-22.

The Wales international started at the base of a midfield three in Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over Monza, regaining possession four times and completing 100 per cent of his passes in his 45-minute outing.

Ramsey has been linked with a possible return to the Premier League but it appears Allegri has important plans for the 30-year-old if he is prepared to embrace the change in position.

"The club handles the transfer market. We speak every day," Allegri said to Mediaset when asked about the Pjanic rumours.

"The squad... it's a good squad. Ramsey played very well in front of the defence today and I think Aaron, in front of the defence, can become a really important player.

"[Pjanic] gave me some great victories. He's a Barcelona player, though.

"We have talented players and I think, if Ramsey is convinced to play in front of the defence, he can become important. He runs less there and can rest more on the ball."

Juve play Barca in the pre-season Joan Gamper Trophy match on August 8.

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