Erling Haaland is the hottest property in football right now.

It is expected that Haaland will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of this season although that is not confirmed.

The 21-year-old Norwegian forward is being chased by several big clubs.

TOP STORY – HAALAND SET TO DECIDE ON CLUB FUTURE

AS claims that Haaland is set to make a definitive call on his future as several top clubs circle for his signature.

Borussia Dortmund are set to meet with Haaland's representatives next week to discuss his plans according to Marca.

Haaland is being pursued by Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.

ROUND-UP

- Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has reached out to Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele about a potential switch to Italy, claims Telefoot. Mourinho worked with Ndombele during his time at Spurs.

- Football Insider reports PSG midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has no interest in a move to cashed-up Newcastle United having been linked with his former club.

- The Telegraph reports that Burnley's New Zealand international forward Chris Wood will undergo a medical with Newcastle on Wednesday ahead of a move to the Magpies.

- Tottenham have contacted Jesse Lingard's representatives to discuss a free agency move in the off-season from Manchester United, claims Football London.

- Sevilla's interest in signing Manchester United's Anthony Martial is fading given the Red Devils' demands for the French forward, reports Marca.

- The Mail claims that Marcus Rashford and Manchester United are set to open talks before the end of the season on a new contract.

Twelve months ago, Dani Alves was in training with Sao Paulo in between a disappointing draw with Athletico Paranaense and 1-0 home defeat in the San-Sao derby to Santos.

At the same time, Vinicius was in the midst of a Real Madrid goal drought that began in late October and didn't end until March 1.

Now, they are preparing to face each other in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final, with Alves astonishingly back at Barca and – perhaps even more surprising – Vinicius probably one of the two best players in LaLiga.

It's fair to say that, at this point last year, there were growing concerns Vinicius simply wasn't going to be the player many had hoped or predicted.

While he was still only 20, he didn't seem to have developed a great deal since joining from Flamengo in 2018. If anything, he looked as though he was in reverse, and rumours were beginning to swirl regarding his future.

 

It was a little like when Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu in Star Wars doubts the prophecy that Anakin Skywalker is 'the One' to destroy the Sith.

Yet, Vinicius (SPOILER ALERT) succeeded where Anakin failed, the Brazilian managing to get himself back on the right path. In terms of decisiveness, he looks unrecognisable now, so ruthless that you'd suggest he was more machine than man – just without the helmet and Darth Vader's asthmatic problems.

First and foremost, Vinicius' haul of 12 goals is already three times his previous best in a single LaLiga season, and he's still got almost half a campaign left.

Undoubtedly Carlo Ancelotti's trust will be playing a part. Zinedine Zidane never quite gave the impression he had absolute faith in Vinicius, but the Italian has been unwavering in that regard practically ever since he got the job for a second time.

But Vinicius deserves the most credit.

He's showing much more maturity in his game. He's gone from being the most frustrating player on the pitch to very often being the most decisive.

His expected goals (xG) per 90 minutes is up to 0.49 from 0.3, which suggests he's generally getting into better positions than before – but perhaps even more importantly, though connected to that, is the fact he's averaging 0.67 goals over the same period.

Last season that figure was just 0.14, roughly half his xG, evidence that his decision-making and composure were at a pretty low level.

Vinicius is creating chances more frequently as well (1.9 per 90 mins, up from 1.5), but his biggest improvement is definitely in his decisions in front of goal.

 

Of course, outperforming xG can be a sign of good fortune, so some might suggest his form isn't sustainable – we won't know whether that's the case for a while yet.

But even when you disregard that, the improvement he's shown is massive. He's gone from wasting chances he shouldn't, to scoring chances he shouldn't.

His first goal in the recent 4-1 win over Valencia was an interesting exhibition of his new-found striker's instinct. Not only did he continue his run after offloading to Karim Benzema, he then made his own luck when bundling the ball through a crowd before nonchalantly passing into the bottom corner.

While maybe not an astounding goal in isolation, it's difficult to imagine that passage going the same way last season. Confidence breeds confidence, and he looks almost unstoppable.

With that in mind, the man he'll come up against on Wednesday will presumably be getting himself pumped up for a real challenge.

Of course, Alves has been there, done that, got the T-shirt and wore the hat. If we go back to the bad Star Wars analogies, Alves is Obi-Wan Kenobi. You thought he was gone for good but returns when you need him most.

 

This will of course be his first Clasico since returning to the club in November, answering Barca's call when all they could afford were free signings.

As much as anything, Wednesday's game should provide Xavi with understanding as to what the 38-year-old's ceiling is.

It's unlikely he'll be fazed about the prospect of tussling with Vinicius, though he'll be aware of the standard his compatriot is now playing at.

If Vinicius can be kept quiet, Barca's chances of success will increase exponentially, and it's by no means outlandish to suggest this game could be a turning point in their season, as Xavi noted in his pre-match news conference.

With a recent bank loan allowing them to sign Ferran Torres and president Joan Laporta declaring Barca are "back", all of a sudden the outlook isn't so gloomy, particularly now they're through the worst (they hope) of an injury and coronavirus outbreak crisis.

Xavi's brought through several talented young players already, and then there were injured 'wonderkids' Ansu Fati and Pedri waiting in the wings. They look set for important roles over the rest of the season and beyond – you might even suggest there's plenty of cause for optimism at Camp Nou.

The Supercopa offers a chance to really consolidate the growing positivity, and success in the Clasico might indicate Barca are genuinely back.

Aston Villa have completed the signing of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona on a loan deal until the end of the season.

The club announced on Friday that they had agreed a deal to bring the playmaker to Villa Park.

The 29-year-old subsequently arrived in Birmingham on Tuesday, with the club later confirming that the deal had been completed.

Coutinho, who will wear the number 23 shirt, returns to the Premier League, where he spent five years with Liverpool between 2013 and 2018.

The Brazil international is reunited with former Reds team-mate Steven Gerrard, who replaced as manager Dean Smith at Villa Park in November.

Having endured an injury-hit spell with Barca, Coutinho could make his debut in this weekend's Premier League showdown with Manchester United.

Arsenal have fallen out of the Premier League's top tier in recent years.

But the Gunners are determined to re-emerge under manager Mikel Arteta.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set to leave, Arsenal are ready to spend.

TOP STORY – ARSENAL DETERMINED TO LAND VLAHOVIC

Arsenal are determined to land Dusan Vlahovic despite the Serbian wanting £300,000 (€360,000) a week in wages, says the Daily Mail.

The Fiorentina forward is being chased by a host of clubs but the Gunners are ready to sign him despite a transfer bill around £150 million (€180m), with La Viola asking for a £58m (€70m) fee.

Juventus, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been linked with the 21-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City could make a move for Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric claims El Nacional. The Croatian is not happy with the terms offered by Madrid on a new deal with his current contract set to expire at the end of this season.

- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger prefers a move to Real Madrid over Paris Saint-Germain when his current contract expires according to Football London. Both clubs have offered deals to the Germany international.

- The Mirror reports that Edinson Cavani has committed to Manchester United for the remainder of the season after discussions with interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

- Barcelona have approached former Chelsea midfielder Oscar about joining the Catalans, claims TNT Sports Brasil. Oscar is currently contracted with Chinese club Shanghai Port.

- Tottenham are ready to sell record signing Tanguy Ndombele during the January transfer window, reports the Daily Mail. PSG, Milan, Roma, Lyon, Barcelona and Newcastle United are among the clubs interested in Ndombele according to the Star.

Barcelona have finally been able to register new signing Ferran Torres after agreeing a new contract with Samuel Umtiti that sees the Frenchman's salary temporarily decreased.

Barca signed Torres from Manchester City last month in a deal that could eventually cost €65million, but due to the club's financial difficulties, they were unable to register him.

The Blaugrana's salary cap this season was set at just €97m, a decrease of €280m from 2020-21 due to their financial performance.

Although a recent bank loan reportedly made the signing of Torres possible, the club have had to be creative with their use of funds to ensure he is eligible to play in LaLiga.

That has involved Umtiti, who is now tied to the club until 2026, rather than 2023.

Umtiti's Barca career has been heavily impacted by injuries since he joined from Lyon in 2016, with his inability to be a reliable option at the back contributing to him becoming unpopular among some supporters.

As recently as last month he felt compelled to confront a group of fans who had blocked his car at the club's training ground.

During the incident, one of Umtiti's harassers jumped on the bonnet of the player's car.

But despite those issues and reports suggesting Barca had been trying to get Umtiti out of the club, the France international has been given a new contract and thanked for assisting in getting Torres registered.

A statement read: "Barcelona and first-team player Samuel Umtiti have reached an agreement to extend the latter's contract until June 30, 2026.

"The French defender is reducing a part of the salary that he was due to receive in the year and a half remaining on his contract.

"This contract extension operation does not entail any greater financial commitments for Barcelona with regards to the player.

"Barcelona wishes to publicly express its gratitude to Samuel Umtiti for his willingness and the affection that he has demonstrated towards the club.

"Through this contract extension, Barcelona will be able to increase its 'financial fair play' quota and thus register Ferran Torres with the Spanish Professional Football League."

Nevertheless, Torres remains absent from the group travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Supercopa de Espana, with Barca set to face Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Spain international tested positive for COVID-19 last Tuesday, as did Pedri, and neither have been included in the selection.

However, Ansu Fati and Frenkie de Jong are both travelling to Riyadh despite not having "medical approval".

Romelu Lukaku cast his Chelsea future in doubt with a recent interview – and the unsettled striker may now be offered a route out of Stamford Bridge by Paris Saint-Germain.

The 28-year-old revealed his regret at leaving Inter for Chelsea and questioned boss Thomas Tuchel's tactics, leading to him being dropped for the 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

Lukaku has returned for the Blues' two matches since, but doubts remain over whether he will still be a Chelsea player come the start of next season.

TOP STORY – LUKAKU LINED UP AS MBAPPE REPLACEMENT?

PSG look certain to lose Kylian Mbappe at the end of the campaign as the Real Madrid target fast approaches the end of his contract at the Parc des Princes.

The Ligue 1 giants are on the lookout for possible replacements and, according to El Nacional, Lukaku is one of those being considered by the club's wealthy backers.

The report suggests PSG are willing to pay €90million (£75.1m) to persuade Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to part ways with the club's all-time record signing.

Lukaku, who apologised for giving the explosive interview in December, has scored eight goals in 20 appearances since returning to west London five months ago.

ROUND-UP

– Tottenham have decided to sell Steven Bergwijn this month amid interest from several clubs, according to Fabrizio Romano. Ajax are said to be among the sides to have already made an offer for the Netherlands international.

– Anthony Martial wants to leave Manchester United and has been touted as a possible target for Barcelona. But Spanish outlet Sport claims that, while Barca are eager to strengthen in the final third, Martial is not on their radar in this window.

– Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is wanted by a number of Europe's heavyweight clubs. According to Foot Mercato, PSG are prepared to pay more than the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, but the latter remains the Germany international's preferred choice.

– A rumoured target for Chelsea and Bayern, Sergino Dest's Barcelona future may become clearer in the coming days. El Nacional claims the defender's representatives are set to hold talks with the Catalan giants.

– After being jeered off the pitch by his own supporters in Tottenham's 3-1 FA Cup win over Morecambe on Sunday, The Athletic reports that club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele is hopeful of ending his tumultuous spell in north London this month.

– The Athletic also reports Aston Villa are now the favourites to sign Everton full-back Lucas Digne, despite previous interest from Chelsea. Newcastle United have also been linked, but Digne is apparently not considering a move to the relegation-threatened side.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said he was happy to take a point away from the visit to Villarreal after facing "one of the best teams in LaLiga".

Angel Correa struck a sensational opener after 10 minutes, the Argentina international intercepting Daniel Parejo's sloppy pass and firing over Geronimo Rulli from just inside the Villarreal half.

Opta calculated his breathtaking effort to have an expected goal (xG) indicator of just 0.0166 – the lowest for a goal in LaLiga this season.

However, the hosts pulled level before half-time through Pau Torres, shortly after Gerard Moreno had seen a penalty saved by Jan Oblak.

Alberto Moreno put Unai Emery's side ahead after the break but Geoffrey Kondogbia, who was sent off deep into stoppage time after picking up a second yellow card, sealed a point with his first goal for the club in the 67th minute. 

That goal snapped Los Colchoneros' run of three straight LaLiga defeats on the road, and Simeone was pleased with his players' efforts against a strong and spirited Villarreal side. 

"It was a difficult game," he told Movistar. "For me, Villarreal is one of the best teams in LaLiga. They defend well, they are organised at the back and attack very well.

"When [Matheus] Cunha didn't score a second with his chance they grew into the game. They played a good first half and continued that in the second.

"They put themselves ahead but then a different Atletico Madrid appeared. We leave with positives and lots of things to correct.

"We have been fighting and working to improve ourselves. Today we did a lot of good things and we are on a quest to keep improving things."

Marcos Llorente echoed Simeone's sentiments, saying Atleti need to sharpen up if they are to turn draws into wins.

"We always want victory," he said. "But having gone two goals down it was good to see the reaction of the team. It is a point that has been fought for and won. We wanted all three, but we are happy with the reaction of the team.

"We always want more. In the second half we have managed to generate chances. If we correct the errors we know we can win games."

The result lifted Atleti above Real Sociedad into fourth, with Llorente acknowledging the battle for a Champions League place could go right to the wire.

"You can see that it is going to be a very tight fight up there," he added. "There are teams that are doing things very well. Winning three points is very complicated. If you are not at 100 per cent anyone can take them away from you."

Angel Correa scored a sensational goal from almost the halfway line as Atletico Madrid fought out a pulsating 2-2 LaLiga draw with Villarreal on Sunday.

Correa stunned the Estadio de la Ceramica with his sublime early strike, but the hosts pulled level before half-time through Pau Torres, shortly after Gerard Moreno had seen a penalty saved by Jan Oblak.

Alberto Moreno thought he had sealed a fifth consecutive top-flight win for Unai Emery's side before the hour mark, yet Atleti salvaged a point thanks to Geoffrey Kondogbia's first goal for the club, although the midfielder's match ended with a red card deep into stoppage time.

The result moved Diego Simeone's side up to fourth, while Villarreal remained four points behind their opponents in eighth.

Atleti went ahead after 10 minutes thanks to Correa's audacious strike, the Argentina international intercepting Parejo's sloppy pass and firing over Geronimo Rulli from just inside the Villarreal half.

Alberto Moreno struck the post soon after, before he won a penalty when Thomas Lemar handled his shot inside the area in the 23rd minute.

Gerard Moreno's weak spot-kick was kept out by Oblak, though, with Parejo's follow-up ruled out for handball following a pitchside VAR review.

The hosts did pull level six minutes later, however, Torres bundling in from close range after Oblak spilled a Parejo free-kick at his feet.

Villarreal deservedly went ahead in the 58th minute when Alberto Moreno latched on to Gerard Moreno's pass and found the back of the net via a signifiant deflection from the onrushing Oblak. 

Simeone's men went back to the Spanish capital with a point, though, when Kondogbia's 20-yard strike slipped through the grasp of Rulli in the 67th minute, before the 28-year-old goalscorer received a second yellow card for a foul on Yeremi Pino in added time.

Angel Correa scored a remarkable goal from almost the halfway line in Atletico Madrid's LaLiga clash at Villarreal on Sunday. 

The Argentina international intercepted Daniel Parejo's sloppy pass just inside his own half before sensationally firing over Geronimo Rulli from just over the halfway line.

Opta deemed the effort to have an expected goal (xG) indicator of just 0.0166 – the lowest in LaLiga this season. 

Correa has now scored 12 goals in his last 28 top-flight appearances, which is one more than he had in his previous 98 league games for Diego Simeone's men. 

Eric Garcia will miss around five weeks of action after suffering a hamstring injury in Barcelona's 1-1 draw at Granada.

The 21-year-old centre-back was replaced by Clement Lenglet after 54 minutes on Saturday, and tests carried out by Barca on Sunday confirmed the severity of the problem.

Garcia, who signed for Barca on a free transfer after his Manchester City contract expired at the end of 2020-21, has played 20 games so far this season, keeping four clean sheets.

Xavi's team have a number of players back following injury or positive COVID-19 tests, including Memphis Depay and Sergino Dest, but will now be without Garcia until around the middle of February, while Gavi will also spend some time out after being sent off against Granada.

Barca host Real Madrid in the semi-final of the Supercopa de Espana on Wednesday, with Xavi having confirmed forward Ansu Fati will return from a hamstring injury which has kept him out since November.

The Spain international, who inherited the number 10 shirt worn by Lionel Messi, scored three times across five LaLiga appearances earlier this season following a 10-month absence with a serious knee injury.

Bruno Fernandes joked April Fools' Day has come early as the Manchester United midfielder moved to rubbish reports linking him with a move to Barcelona.

The Portugal international is approaching the two-year anniversary since arriving at United from Sporting CP and has been arguably the club's best performer over that period.

However, reports from Fernandes' homeland on Saturday claimed the 27-year-old is seeking a way out of Old Trafford and has been offered to Barcelona by his agent.

Fernandes was quick to call out those reports, though, with a message posted on his personal Instagram page.

"And I thought the new year only started a few days ago, yet we're already on April 1!" he said in a direct response to SPORT TV's report.

"Or is this once again just bad journalism?"

 

Fernandes still has three and a half years to run on the contract signed when arriving from Sporting in a deal worth up to £68million (€80m) in January 2020.

Since his debut on February 1 that year – a goalless home draw with Wolves – Fernandes has played 104 times for United in all competitions.

That is at least 10 times more than any other United player, with Harry Maguire (94) next on the list, the pair having both started 93 times over that period.

He has been directly involved in 79 goals in those two years – 45 goals and 34 assists – a tally bettered by only six others among players from clubs in Europe's top five leagues.

But Fernandes has not been quite as effective this term, coinciding with the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, with 19 players boasting more than his eight Premier League goals involvements.

Kylian Mbappe is widely expected to join Real Madrid at the end of this season.

The 23-year-old attacker has stalled on a new contract offer at Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid have been circling for Mbappe's signature for a long time and had multiple bids rejected in 2021.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE COULD STILL RE-SIGN WITH PSG

Mbappe could spring a surprise and renew his current PSG deal prior to the end of this season, claims Le Parisien.

The 2018 World Cup winner had been expected to become a free agent when his contract expires on June 30 and join Madrid .

Le Parisien claims that PSG have hope that Mbappe may pen an extension to force a transfer fee from Los Blancos, should they pursue a move. Mbappe is still undecided on his future, according to the report.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United 's superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo has held crisis talks with his agent Jorge Mendes as he considers his future with the Red Devils, according to The Sun. Ronaldo reportedly may leave United depending on their choice of a new permanent manager.

- El Nacional claims that Liverpool are ready to offer Barcelona teenager Gavi a deal worth £80,000 (€96k) per week to secure his signature, while Manchester City are also interested. Barca have a £42m (€50m) release cause in the 17-year-old's contract.

- Arsenal want to sign a new midfielder in January with Lyon's Bruno Guimaraes on their radar while a loan deal for Arthur Melo was discussed but has not advanced to talks with Juventus yet, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Argentinean forward Dario Benedetto is set to return to his homeland to join Boca Juniors from Marseille although the deal may take several days to complete, reports Cesar Luis Merlo.

- Nicolo Schira claims that Newcastle United have opened discussions with Sevilla on a four-year deal to sign Brazilian defender Diego Carlos .

- West Ham United and Newcastle may be priced out of their pursuit for Marseille's Boubacar Kamara,  who wants a £150,000-per-week (€180k) deal according to The Sun.

Carlo Ancelotti said the penalty awarded to Real Madrid in their 4-1 win over Valencia on Saturday "seemed quite clear" after Los Che's official Twitter account suggested it was a "robbery".

Madrid went ahead two minutes before the interval through Karim Benzema's 300th goal in all competitions for the club, the France international powering home from the spot after Omar Alderete had been penalised for a foul inside the area on Casemiro.

That led to Valencia's Twitter account posting: "The robbery in Madrid begins to be somewhat repetitive."

The tweet also tagged the hit Netflix show Money Heist, which follows a group of bank robbers in the Spanish capital.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique could not resist getting involved, replying to the Valencia tweet with the message: "Do not say it too loud that you are going to be sanctioned."

Ancelotti, though, had no issues with the award of the penalty, telling a media conference: "From a distance it seemed quite clear to me but I don't know anything else about what happened.

"I don't know what to say. I have to evaluate the game. We deserved to win and it is true that the penalty has helped us but I think the game was complete."

 

Madrid sealed a third consecutive LaLiga win over Valencia in the second half thanks to a brace from Vinicius Junior – his fourth double of the season – and a second strike from Benzema.

Vinicius has been involved in a goal every 101.6 minutes in all competitions this season for Los Blancos (14 goals, seven assists) – his best ratio in a single season for the club.

Benzema, meanwhile, became just the fourth Madrid player to hit 300 goals for the club, after Cristiano Ronaldo (450), Raul (323) and Alfredo Di Stefano (308).

Despite the duo's superb form this season, Ancelotti hinted that he could be ready to shuffle his pack up front in the coming weeks.

"I think we have to think game by game," he added. "Vinicius has returned well. He has not excelled much in dribbling but he was ready to score goals. He has scored goals from a forward area and Karim is always the same.

"We are going to compete, be it with [Marco] Asensio, Rodrygo or whoever. They have done very well. No one is immovable because each game is different.

"Today they have done very well but I also have to think about other players. We are lucky to have these players who stand out a lot."

Madrid are next in action on Wednesday when they take on arch rivals Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana semi-finals.

Barcelona boss Xavi was "angry and upset" after his side conceded a late equaliser at Granada on Saturday.

The Blaugrana were on the verge of a crucial victory that would have seen them leap up to third in the LaLiga table, only for an 89th minute Antonio Puertas goal to cancel out Luuk de Jong's opener.

Speaking after the game, Xavi was frustrated with dropping two points as well as having to play the final 10 minutes a man down following Gavi's dismissal for a second yellow card.

"We cannot leave happy. We are angry and upset," he told reporters. "We also lack experience, it's clear.

"I'm not talking about the referees, I'm talking about the consequence of the expulsion. We are with one less, we have to go back [be defensive] and it costs us because we are not used to it.

"Experience and craft are gained with matches. [Gavi] is a player who gives us a lot."

Xavi insisted that his team had to look at themselves following the draw, adding: "We lost very silly balls. We must be self-critical.

"You have to do more things: get higher, create opportunities. If we want to grow we have to do more things and grow from now.

"[The result] is not the merit of [Granada], it is our demerit."

De Jong's header just before the hour was his second in two LaLiga games, having scored the winner at Real Mallorca last week, and Xavi suggested that the Dutchman might still have a role to play despite strong rumours that he had been on the verge of having his loan from Sevilla cut short to lessen the wage bill.

"I have already told you that he is part of the squad, like everyone else," he added. "If offers come and we have to square the salary cap, it is the situation that exists. But Luuk is a professional and he has helped us a lot. I am happy for him."

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema scored his 300th goal in all competitions for the club in Saturday's 4-1 LaLiga win over Valencia.

A penalty just before half-time at the Santiago Bernabeu saw the France international bring up the landmark, before he added a second late on to take his tally to 22 goals in 25 games this season.

Benzema reached the impressive figure in just 584 appearances for Los Merengues, becoming the fourth player to reach that milestone in club's history after Cristiano Ronaldo (450), Raul (323) and Alfredo Di Stefano (308).

The 34-year-old joined Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009, and has won four Champions League titles, four FIFA Club World Cups, three LaLiga titles and two Copas del Rey.

Benzema had a fine 2021, getting 30 goals for his club as well as winning the Nations League with France, scoring the opener as Les Bleus beat Spain 2-1 in the final in October.

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