Sergio Ramos and Ansu Fati were left out of Luis Enrique's Spain squad on Friday ahead of Nations League games against Switzerland and Portugal.

Head coach Luis Enrique also excluded in-form forward Iago Aspas but called in the uncapped Borja Iglesias and Nico Williams.

The upcoming games are the last for Spain before Luis Enrique chooses his World Cup squad, so all eyes were on whether former captain Ramos, particularly, would return to favour.

Ramos won a record 180 caps for Spain but may have played his final game for La Roja, unless Luis Enrique has a change of heart before November.

The door has been left ajar, but time is running out for Ramos and Aspas.

"These players have been in the national team. They can return to the national team without any doubt," Luis Enrique said on Friday.

It might be a different story for Fati, who has been in favour when fit and is working his way back to his best shape at Barcelona after an injury-disrupted 2021-22 campaign.

Fati has yet to start a LaLiga game this season but has managed two goals and two assists when coming off the bench, in just 120 minutes of action.

Luis Enrique said such limited action was telling at this stage, adding: "Hopefully we will see the best Ansu again, but today I don't see him on the list. He is in the process of gaining confidence and improving after not playing for a long time."

Speaking at a press conference, Enrique said: "Every time there is a squad list, what draws attention is those who aren't in, but I prefer to talk about those who are. I have 25 players that I consider the best for these matches."

 

Athletic Bilbao's Williams, whose brother Inaki recently switched his football allegiance from Spain to Ghana, was hailed by Luis Enrique as "a pure winger", and a player the coaching staff wanted to see up close.

Luis Enrique knows Betis forward Borja already, having previously coached him at Celta Vigo, and said he appreciated the 29-year-old's "always-smiling style on the pitch". He has four LaLiga goals already this term.

Aspas can probably make plans for November and December that do not involve Qatar 2022. The veteran Celta Vigo striker has been an outstanding performer in LaLiga and has five goals already this term in the competition, just one fewer than top scorer Robert Lewandowski.

More remarkably, Aspas has got his goals despite having an expected goals (xG) tally of just 1.4, indicating he is vastly outperforming what would be expected from him.

However, the 35-year-old last played for Spain in 2019.

Spain face Switzerland at La Romareda in Zaragoza on September 24, and tackle Portugal three days later in Braga.

Spain squad: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), Robert Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford); Pau Torres (Villarreal), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Diego Llorente (Leeds United), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid); Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Pedri (Barcelona), Koke, Gavi (Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid); Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Borja Iglesias (Real Betis), Yeremy Pino (Villarreal), Ferran Torres (Barcelona).

Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Manchester United was a major source of speculation during the transfer window.

The 37-year-old Portuguese forward reportedly wanted to leave United in order to fulfil his desire to play Champions League football and challenge for trophies in the top leagues.

However, Ronaldo was unable to secure a move, with the likes of Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid publicly distancing themselves from him following links, which may have led to another option being considered down the line.

TOP STORY – RONALDO TO RE-VISIT SAUDI OFFER IN JANUARY

Cristiano Ronaldo is reconsidering a lucrative offer from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club and could move in January, according to The Mirror.

Ronaldo had a stunning £211million Saudi offer during the transfer window but declined the move as he remained focused on playing in Europe.

But he will re-visit that in January after failing to secure a move, as he comes to the realisation his desire to play Champions League football and win trophies in top leagues may be fading.

Ronaldo has also struggled for game time this season at United under new boss Erik ten Hag, starting just one out of six Premier League games so far.

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe claims that Kylian Mbappe's Paris Saint-Germain contract expires in 2024 and not 2025, as that final year is at the sole discretion of the player. Mbappe was close to joining Real Madrid last term before signing a lucrative extension with PSG.

Inter are eager to work on a contract extension for defender Milan Skriniar who is out of contract at the end of this season, reports L'Interista. The Slovakian defender was pursued by PSG during the last transfer window, while Tottenham were also credited with an interest.

Arsenal will look to loan out 19-year-old Brazilian winger Marquinhos in order to gain first-team experience and game time, reports FourFourTwo. As a result, the Gunners will aim to bring in a short-term replacement in January.

N'Golo Kante has declined a new two-year deal with Chelsea and is out of contract in 2023, claims The Athletic.

– UOL says  Brighton and Hove Albion are interested in hiring Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira to replace Graham Potter, who exited for Chelsea last week.

Liverpool reportedly had a deadline-day bid for Moises Caicedo rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 20-year-old is hot property with a long list of suitors, after an impressive second half of last season in the Premier League.

Caicedo joined Brighton from Independiente del Valle in January 2021 on a four-and-half-year contract.

TOP STORY – BRIGHTON TO OPEN TALKS WITH CAICEDO

Brighton and Hove Albion will open contract talks with hot property Moises Caicedo according to The Mirror.

The Ecuadorian has interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

The Seagulls are determined to fend off those suitors by pinning Caicedo down to a new contract.


ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports French giants Paris Saint-Germain will look to sign Antoine Griezmann after this season, as they begin planning for Lionel Messi's departure. Griezmann is currently on a two-year loan at Atletico Madrid from Barcelona. Messi is contracted until mid-2023 and view Griezmann as a suitable replacement if they cannot convince him to extend his stay.

Barcelona will resume their chase for Manchester City's Bernardo Silva in January, reports Sport. LaLiga has increased the club's salary cap, allowing them to pursue the Portuguese midfielder again.

– The Telegraph claims that among those under consideration for the vacant Brighton managerial role are ex-Shakhtar Donetsk boss Roberto de Zerbi and Bodo/Glimt's Kjetil Knutsen.

Carlo Ancelotti is set to be rewarded for his successful 2021-22 campaign with Real Madrid set to offer him a new contract, according to Marca. Ancelotti's current deal runs until 2024.

Lionel Messi's decision-making at Paris Saint-Germain is "not a problem" for his team-mates, says Achraf Hakimi, after the Argentine helped seal victory over Brest.

Messi was on hand to assist Neymar's finish for the lone goal of the game, as Christophe Galtier's side edged to a 1-0 win to return to the summit of Ligue 1.

Having made the move from Barcelona last year, Messi frequently struggled to live up his billing during his first campaign at the Parc des Princes, but has looked back to his best this term, tallying three league goals and seven assists.

In a game decided by closer margins than anticipated, it was his vision to set up the in-form Neymar that trumped a PSG blank elsewhere, with Hakimi happy to defer to the forward's expertise.

"When I make the call and Leo does not give it, it is because he has seen that there is another player to whom he can pass," he stated.

"This is not a problem. That's how today he made the pass to Neymar and we took the three points."

Messi's rich club form will be even more of a boon to the Argentina international squad, particularly given his outstanding performances for them did not dip during his first year at PSG.

With the Qatar 2022 World Cup looming, the attacker will want to maintain his level for what is likely to be his final shot at claiming the biggest team prize available in the sport, and the glaring omission in his trophy cabinet.

Presnel Kimpembe is set for a spell on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring in a rash challenge that left Brest coach Michel Der Zakarian furious.

Kimpembe was already on a booking in the closing stages of Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 win on Saturday when he lunged in on Irvin Cardona.

The France defender somehow escaped punishment, but he went away clutching his hamstring and left PSG down to 10 men regardless as he departed down the tunnel for treatment with all five substitutions already used.

It now appears likely Kimpembe will not play against either Maccabi Haifa or Lyon ahead of an international break for which he will also be a doubt.

"He suffers from a muscle injury," coach Christophe Galtier said. "He will have tests and we will wait within 48 hours to see the severity."

Yet that news was of little consolation to Der Zakarian, who had earlier seen Islam Slimani's penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

It was for that foul that Kimpembe was initially booked, and the Brest coach suggested there would have been a very different response from the officials had one of his cautioned players acted so rashly in stoppage time.

"The linesman is in front of it – he's like me," Der Zakarian said. "We're all five metres from the action with the fourth official and the linesman.

"When he tackles... the noise, everyone heard it. And the linesman didn't even call a foul!

"Yes, he must receive a card, minimum yellow. If he gets a yellow, he is sent off, since he has already taken one. If it's us, we're out. But it's Paris."

Neymar scored the only goal of the game as Paris Saint-Germain returned to the top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win over Brest, though the French champions were indebted to Gianluigi Donnarumma following his penalty save.

The Brazilian volleyed home his eighth strike of the campaign after half an hour to settle a scrappy affair, maintaining the hosts' unbeaten start.

However, Christophe Galtier's side survived a scare in the final 20 minutes as Donnarumma kept out Islam Slimani's spot-kick to preserve their led.

PSG have now won each of their last 10 league matches against Brest, and appear strong favourites for yet another title after extending their unbeaten home league run in to 25 games.

Brest came under intense pressure inside the opening 20 minutes with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi all going close for the Parisians. 

The visitors' struggles appeared set to worsen when Christophe Herelle received a red card for fouling Neymar, but they were reprieved after a VAR check revealed the PSG forward had strayed offside before the challenge occurred.

The Brazil international broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark, however, controlling Messi's wonderful lofted ball before firing past Marco Bizot.

The Brest goalkeeper did well to thwart Messi and Mbappe before the break, while the latter was also denied by the offside flag.

The woodwork then came to the visitors' rescue within five minutes of the restart; Messi heading against the post from Mbappe's cross.

Despite registering 12 shots on goal, PSG were almost made to pay for their lacking of cutting edge in the 70th minute when Presnel Kimpembe fouled Noah Fadiga in the box.

However, Donnarumma guessed correctly to keep out Slimani from 12 yards and ensure his side's return to the Ligue 1 summit.

 

Chelsea's first big transfer splash under new boss Graham Potter could reportedly be RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, after the club had a £77million bid rejected before the deadline.

Gvardiol is young at 20, but he does not lack experience, having already been awarded 10 senior international caps for Croatia, as well as racking up 47 club appearances in all competitions last season for Leipzig.

He was one of many high-profile defenders to be enquired about during Chelsea's search that ended up landing Leicester City's Wesley Fofana and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

But with Koulibaly already 31 and Thiago Silva now 37, the club may feel it is best to figure out the succession plan sooner rather than later.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLAN BIG MOVE FOR GVARDIOL IN JANUARY

With over £150m spent between Fofana, Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella, while being tied with Manchester United for the fewest goals scored in the Premier League by a team in the top-half (eight from six games), it is curious to see the Stamford Bridge side still so desperate for defensive help.

It remains to be seen what kind of budget Potter will be allowed to use in the January window, given all the recent signings had been under Thomas Tuchel's guidance, and it is also fair to assume a potential Gvardiol deal would not have this season's results in mind, given their previous offer included loaning him back to Leipzig.

Ownership's willingness to open up the cheque book in January would have likely been discussed during their recruitment of Potter, and Bild remain convinced Chelsea's interest with the young Croatian is far from over.


ROUND-UP

– According to The Mirror, Arsenal and Newcastle United will compete for the signature of 26-year-old Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo, who is said to be available for £8.6m due to being in the last year of his contract.

– The Metro is reporting United full-back Diogo Dalot turned down a move to Milan, instead wishing to fight for his spot at Old Trafford.

– According to inews, Newcastle are joining the race for Vasco da Gama teenager Andrey Santos, who reportedly has a £30m price tag and is a target of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

Jordi Alba is unsettled at Barcelona amid interest from Inter, but remains committed to the club where he now has to contend with Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso for the starting role, according to Marca.

Napoli were not interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo in the recent transfer window due to their desire to build a younger side, according to sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli.

Ronaldo reportedly declared his intention to leave Manchester United after they missed out on Champions League qualification last season, but he failed to complete a transfer before the end of the window.

The likes of Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid ruled out a move for the 37-year-old Portuguese legend after being touted as potential destinations, while Napoli were also linked.

Ronaldo has only started one of United's six Premier League games this season, playing just 207 minutes of league football under Erik ten Hag.

Napoli, meanwhile, have made a bright start to their Serie A campaign despite losing the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, and Giuntoli believes a move for Ronaldo would not have fitted with the club's transfer policy.

"During the transfer market we pretend to chat with everyone, and sometimes we do it for real," he said on Friday. 

"But we wanted to invest in a young team."

 

Napoli were also linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas after selling midfielder Fabian Ruiz to the French giants, but Giuntoli does not see that deal being revived. 

"PSG were interested in Fabian, whom we had to sell, we could bring a high-level goalkeeper to Naples to work alongside [Alex] Meret. In the end, the operation was closed. 

"They did not find an agreement on the salary with the player and we knew we had a binding ceiling that we do not breach for anyone."

Asked whether Navas would be targeted in January, he said: "No, we trust Meret. We are happy that he stayed and against Liverpool he had a great game. Enduring the pressure of the summer did him good."

Napoli remain unbeaten in Serie A this season and made a scintillating start to their Champions League campaign by thrashing Liverpool 4-1 on Wednesday.

But Luciano Spalletti's men suffered a blow when striker Victor Osimhen hobbled off shortly before the break, and the club have now confirmed the Nigeria international suffered a hamstring injury.

"As scheduled, Victor Osimhen underwent diagnostic tests this morning which revealed a second degree injury to his right hamstring," a Napoli statement read on Friday. "The striker had already started carrying out therapies yesterday."

Galatasaray have had a busy end to the Turkish transfer window, adding former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata on a permanent deal, as well as Paris Saint-Germain striker Mauro Icardi on loan in a flurry of moves.

Icardi appears to be the jewel of their significant haul, still aged 29 with plenty of big-match experience, with Galatasaray able to position themselves as the beneficiaries of the Ligue 1 champions' abundance of forward talent.

Mata, 34, is clearly closer to the end of his career, but with 41 international caps for Spain and over 50 Premier League goals, he will bring a valuable level of experience to a side currently sitting seventh on the Super Lig table through five games.

Adding to their influx of talent, Galatasaray also paid €6million to secure 19-year-old winger Yusuf Demir from Rapid Vienna, and €1.75m for 21-year-old centre-back Mathias Ross from the Danish Superliga.

Their late activity caps off a transfer period where they were also able to add former Napoli winger Dries Mertens on a free transfer, Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira for €6m and Benfica striker Haris Seferovic on a €1m loan.

Galatasaray like to make their incoming transfer business known and, ahead of the Turkish window closing on Thursday, the Super Lig giants are set to be busy.

Mauro Icardi is the headline name of four players who are close to joining the Istanbul club.

Former Inter captain Icardi has agreed to join Gala on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, where he has fallen well down the pecking order.

Icardi, who was one of Europe's most prolific strikers while at the peak of his powers at Inter, has not made an appearance for PSG this season and has not even featured in a matchday squad under Christophe Galtier in Ligue 1.

The 29-year-old arrived in Turkey to much fanfare on Wednesday, and is set to be joined at Gala by Juan Mata.

Gala confirmed on their official social media channels that they were in negotiations with the former Chelsea and Manchester United playmaker, who left Old Trafford at the end of last season after the expiration of his contract.

Yusuf Demir, who spent half of last season on loan at Barcelona, is also moving to Gala, joining from Rapid Wien, reportedly in a €6million deal, while centre-back Mathias Ross Jensen arrived in Istanbul ahead of sealing a transfer from Danish club Aalborg.

Gala, who have won three of their five Super Lig matches this season but will not be competing in Europe after finishing 13th last term, have also been linked with 2014 World Cup golden boot winner James Rodriguez.

James left Everton for Al-Rayyan in Qatar in September 2021, but is reportedly pushing for a move back to Europe.

Premier League champions Manchester City may be willing to do more business in January.

Pep Guardiola's side added Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Manuel Akanji in the last transfer window.

But City may be looking to further strengthen their squad amid a chaotic schedule in 2022-23.

TOP STORY – CITY CONSIDERING KROOS MOVE IN JANUARY

Manchester City are plotting a January move for Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, according to El Nacional.

The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season and he has rejected Madrid's offer of an extension.

As a result, Los Blancos may consider selling Kroos in January and Pep Guardiola is a long-time admirer.

ROUND-UP

Galatasaray are set to clinch a loan deal to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Mauro Icardi, reports Fabrizio Romano. The final details of the move are being discussed, with Icardi set to undergo a medical in Turkey soon. The Turkish transfer window closes on Thursday.

– After being heavily pursued prior to the transfer window closing, Aston Villa's Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz is planning to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, according to UOL.

– The Telegraph reports that Wolves will consider signing ex-Newcastle United forward Andy Carroll should their move for Diego Costa collapse. Carroll is a free agent after leaving West Bromwich Albion.

– Southampton's Nathan Redmond will fly to Turkey to complete a move to Besiktas on a one-year deal, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Kylian Mbappe hinted a future move to Real Madrid is very much a possibility, saying the club feels like his "house".

Mbappe was widely expected to join Madrid upon the expiry of his contract in June, but instead he committed his future to Paris Saint-Germain until 2025 in a shock decision that sparked fury in Spain.

His new deal with PSG, which was reported to feature a €100million signing bonus, expires at the end of the 2024-25 season.

Mbappe will still only be 26 at that point, illustrating a point apparently made by Emmanuel Macron when the French president made his pitch for the World Cup winner to remain in his home country.

"I never imagined I'm gonna talk with the president about my future, about my future in my career, so it's something crazy, really something crazy," Mbappe said in an interview with The New York Times.

"He [Macron] told me: 'I want you to stay. I don't want you to leave now. You are so important for the country.'"

According to Mbappe, Macron added: "You have time to leave, you can stay a little bit more."

Mbappe did not give a clear indication as to whether he would take the opportunity to trade Paris for Madrid when the opportunity arises again, but he conceded he feels as if the club has dominated the narrative around his career despite never playing for Los Blancos.

"You never know what's going to happen," added Mbappe. "You've never been there, but it seems like it's like your house, or something like this."

Mbappe, though, rejected talk of the signing bonus and the massive contract given to him by PSG as being the reason for his decision to stay.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, eager to build a Champions League-winning team, claimed amid the fallout from Mbappe's decision that Madrid had offered more money.

Mbappe said of his significant financial compensation: "Everywhere I go, I'm gonna get money. I'm this type of player everywhere I go."

Paris Saint-Germain have released Rafinha to allow the midfielder to join Qatar side Al Arabi SC.

The 29-year-old fell out of favour at the Parc des Princes, featuring just five times in all competitions last season before joining Real Sociedad on loan in December.

Rafinha enjoyed more game time for La Real as he appeared 17 times in LaLiga, scoring once to help Sociedad finish sixth.

But the two-capped Brazil international moved further down the midfield pecking order on his return to the French capital, with Christophe Galtier signing Renato Sanches, Vitinha, Carlos Soler and Fabian Ruiz.

With the World Cup coming later in the year in Qatar, Rafinha has moved to Doha to join Al Arabi on a two-year contract as he ended a two-year stay with the Ligue 1 champions.

Al Arabi sit top of the Qatar Stars League, with four wins and one loss from their opening five games.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier says people should not read too much into Neymar not starting the 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Nantes.

The Brazil international has been in sensational form at the start of the 2022-23 campaign, scoring seven goals in five appearances prior to Saturday's game at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

However, he watched on from the substitutes' bench as Kylian Mbappe put the Ligue 1 champions 2-0 up either side of a red card for Nantes wing-back Fabio, with Neymar introduced in place of Mbappe in the second half.

Nuno Mendes added a third after Neymar's shot had cannoned back off the post as PSG racked up 24 goals after their first six games.

That equalled the record for goals scored by a team in Europe's big five leagues at this stage of a season in the 21st century (Manchester City in 2019-20 and Bayern Munich in 2020-21).

Galtier rejected suggestions Neymar had been dropped, instead stating it was merely a consequence of normal squad rotation.

"You say that all this is new, but it is an obligation in relation to the busy schedule for everyone," he told Canal +.

"We play a lot, every three days then every four days. Everyone understands that they will not be able to play all the 95-minute matches.

"I spoke about it twice. The first time with each player, the second with the whole group, to tell them that it was okay to be like that and that you had to have the right attitude. And also value the participation of your team-mates."

Fabio's red card was his fourth since his Ligue 1 debut in September 2018 – only his team-mate Andrei Girotto (five) has a worse record in Ligue 1 over this period.

It came following an ugly lunge on PSG midfielder Vitinha, which saw the former Porto man immediately require treatment before being replaced by Renato Sanches. 

PSG start their Champions League campaign at home to Juventus on Tuesday and Galtier is unsure whether the 22-year-old will be fit enough to play. 

"He took a big hit on the kneecap, there is no twisting, no ligament risk, we will see if he can play on Tuesday," the PSG boss said. 

"It's coming fast, it's close. We will make sure to restore him well and see how he feels. Otherwise, we'll do it with someone else."

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain made it five wins from six Ligue 1 games this season with a 3-0 win over 10-man Nantes on Saturday.

Mbappe put the champions ahead shortly before the midway point of the first half with his sixth league goal of the campaign, before Nantes wing-back Fabio received his marching orders for a high challenge.

The France international grabbed his second early in the second half, before Nuno Mendes added a third as Christophe Galtier's men wrapped up maximum points with the minimum of fuss. 

The result meant PSG returned to the top of Ligue 1 after Marseille had briefly usurped them earlier in the day with victory over Auxerre, while Nantes remained in 10th.

Samuel Moutoussamy fired over for Nantes early on, while Danilo Pereira and Marquinhos went close at the other end as the visitors started to flex their muscles.

Mbappe then deservedly put PSG ahead in the 18th minute with a whipped effort past Alban Lafont after being played in by Lionel Messi at the end of an incisive counter-attacking move.

Nantes' task became significantly harder six minutes later when Fabio received a straight red card for an ugly lunge on Vitinha.

The game was effectively put out of their reach in the 54th minute when Mbappe prodded home from six yards after being picked out by Messi, the goal eventually given after a long VAR review for a possible offside.

Substitute Neymar inexplicably hit the post with the goal at his mercy, but his blushes were spared when Mendes fired in the rebound for his first PSG goal. 

What does it mean? Nantes blown away by relentless champions

Nantes kept PSG at bay for 18 minutes, yet as soon as Mbappe superbly finished off a flowing move there was only going to be one winner.

The result means PSG have now won seven of their past eight Ligue 1 away games, scoring a whopping 34 goals and conceding just five in that time.

Magnificent Messi

Mbappe will get the headlines after his brace, but Messi was at his unplayable best here.

The Argentina maestro laid on both of Mbappe's goals from two of his three key passes – a total not bettered by anyone on the pitch.

Foolish Fabio

Nantes were already 1-0 down when Fabio raked his studs down Vitinha's leg and any hopes they had of getting back into the game were vanquished with his dismissal.

Boss Antoine Kombouare will not be pleased with the former Manchester United man's recklessness.

What's next?

Both sides are in European action in midweek, with PSG starting their Champions League campaign at home to Juventus on Tuesday and Nantes hosting Olympiacos in the Europa League two days later.

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