Simão Sabrosa

This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Fonseca and the second or paternal family name is Sabrosa.

Simão playing for Beşiktaş in 2012
Personal information
Full name Simão Pedro Fonseca Sabrosa
Date of birth (1979-10-31) 31 October 1979
Place of birth Constantim, Portugal
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Winger
Youth career
1990–1992 Diogo Cão
1992–1997 Sporting CP
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–1999 Sporting CP 53 (12)
1999–2001 Barcelona 46 (3)
2001–2007 Benfica 172 (76)
2007–2010 Atlético Madrid 113 (20)
2011–2012 Beşiktaş 46 (8)
2012–2014 Espanyol 60 (3)
2015–2016 NorthEast United 10 (3)
National team
1998–2000 Portugal U21 15 (8)
1998–2010 Portugal 85 (22)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 November 2015.

Simão Pedro Fonseca Sabrosa, OIH (born 31 October 1979), known mononymously as Simão (Portuguese pronunciation: [siˈmɐ̃w̃]), is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays mainly as a left winger, with dribbling and set piece skills as primary attributes.

Having played in his country for two of the three biggest teams in the nation, Benfica and Sporting, he also spent several years of his career in Spain, notably with Atlético Madrid. He won the 2004–05 national championship with the first club and the 2010 Europa League with the third, amongst other accolades.

Over a 12-year span, Simão represented Portugal in two World Cups and as many European Championships, helping it finish second at Euro 2004 and reach the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

Club career


Born in the village of Constantim in Vila Real, Simão started his career at Sporting Clube de Portugal, whose youth system had just produced Luís Figo – and later Cristiano Ronaldo.

During his two-year spell he played in more than 60 official games with the first team, his first goal coming in his debut at only 17 in a 3–0 away win against Gil Vicente FC.[1]


Simão moved to FC Barcelona in the summer of 1999 on a £10 million transfer,[2] partnering with Figo in his first year as Barça finished second in La Liga to Deportivo de La Coruña. In 2001, after a comparatively low-key tenure at the Spanish club under manager Louis van Gaal, he spoke of his desire for a move back to Sporting.[2] However, he signed with city rivals S.L. Benfica for €12 million.[3]


Simão instantly became a fan-favorite as his new team, quickly acquiring the status of captain.[4][5][6] Also, during his six-year stint, he always finished as the club's top scorer, also ranking high in the global domestic charts, notably in the 2002–03 season as he scored a Primeira Liga and career-best 18 goals.[7]

In the following campaign, Simão scored the Eagles' second goal in a 2–1 extra-time victory over FC Porto in the final of the Taça de Portugal,[8][9] ending the club's eight-year silverware drought. In 2004–05, as the side won the national championship[10] after an 11-year wait, he played in all the matches and minutes, netting 15 times. They also reached the domestic cup final in a 1–2 loss against Vitória de Setúbal, with him scoring the losing side's goal through a fourth-minute penalty;[11] in the campaign's UEFA Cup he also appeared in all the matches, netting four times including twice against Dukla Banská Bystrica in a 3–0 away triumph,[12] with his team eventually reaching the round-of-32.

The 2005 summer transfer window saw Simão targeted by Liverpool[13] in an offer worth approximately £12 million, though negotiations reportedly failed over Benfica's increase in asking price.[14] He continued his excellent form into 2005–06, helping his side in the UEFA Champions League campaign, where it reached the quarterfinals.

Simão played in eight of Benfica's ten matches in the tournament, including the 1–2 loss at Manchester United in the group stage, firing his team level shortly before the hour with an exquisite free-kick, after he himself had been fouled by Alan Smith.[15] In the knockout stages he helped stun title holders Liverpool, unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top left-hand corner of Pepe Reina's goal, as the Portuguese won 2–0 at Anfield and 3–0 overall.[16]

The following year several clubs, such as Manchester United and again Liverpool also revealed interest in Simão,[17][18] but he decided to stay at Benfica.

Atlético Madrid

Simão (right) speaking with referee Frank De Bleeckere during a match for Atlético Madrid

Finally, on 26 July 2007, Atlético Madrid reached an agreement to sign Simão from Benfica for a fee of €20 million.[19] During his first two seasons, in which he was an undisputed starter, he scored seven goals apiece, as the club finished fourth in the top division on both occasions.

On 12 April 2009 Simão entered in the hundred-year history of the capital club, by scoring its 4,000th goal in the league with a left-footed diagonal shot against Deportivo.[20] In the 2009 summer he became one of Atlético's captains for the new campaign, receiving that role from coach Abel Resino after a reshuffle.[21] As the Colchoneros underachieved overall, he scored in the Champions League at APOEL FC in a 1–1 away draw, a goal that secured the club's place in the season's UEFA Europa League.[22]

On 14 January 2010, Simão scored twice to lead Atlético to a 5–1 home victory over Recreativo de Huelva and into the Copa del Rey's last-eight (5–4 aggregate win), including a late goal that decided the tie from a superbly taken freekick.[23] He also grabbed an important goal in the Europa League against Galatasaray SK as the team eventually won the competition, with the player appearing in the final against Fulham.

After a disappointing previous campaign, Simão began the 2010–11 season on a high note, scoring three goals in the first eight games – notably in a 1–1 draw at Valencia CF on 22 September 2010 – and starting in 15 out of the 16 matches he appeared in. He also captained the side more frequently due to the absence of Antonio López, most notably in the UEFA Super Cup's 2–0 defeat of Inter Milan, where he set up a goal for Sergio Agüero.


On 22 December 2010, aged 31, Sabrosa signed with Süper Lig team Beşiktaş JK for €900,000,[24][25][26] reuniting with Portugal teammates Hugo Almeida and Ricardo Quaresma. On 11 May 2011, he scored the decisive penalty in the shootout as Beşiktaş won the Turkish Cup against İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor (4–3, 2–2 after extra time).

Simão faced his previous team in the 2011–12 Europa League round-of-16, scoring in a 1–3 loss at the Vicente Calderón Stadium (1–6 on aggregate).[27]


Simão joined RCD Espanyol on a free transfer on 17 August 2012, signing a two-year contract.[28] He scored his first goal with his new club on 7 December, featuring as a second-half substitute for Rui Fonte and heading in from a corner kick in an eventual 2–2 home draw against Sevilla FC.[29]

Simão was released by Espanyol on 22 May 2014, alongside Joan Capdevila.[30] In April 2015, having been inactive for ten months, he said that he was finding it difficult to attract a new club at the age of 35, and was considering the possibility of entering management.[31]

NorthEast United

On 25 June 2015, Indian Super League club NorthEast United FC announced they had signed Simão as a marquee player.[32][33] He captained the team in his debut match on 9 September, also scoring in the friendly with AmaZulu FC.[34]

Initially sidelined by injury,[35] Simão made his competitive debut on 20 October against Chennaiyin FC at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, replacing Francis Dadzie after 74 minutes and winning a last-minute penalty which he converted to open a 2–0 win which gave the team their first points of the season.[36] On 3 November, immediately after replacing compatriot Silas, he scored a free kick which earned his team a 1–1 draw at Delhi Dynamos FC;[37] four days later from the penalty spot, he decided an away win at Atlético de Kolkata.[38]

International career

Simão's path to the Portugal national team began when he won the UEFA European Under-16 Championship in 1996. The following year he began playing for the under-18s, being a regular in the under-21 side two years later.

Simão made his full debut for Portugal at only 19 years of age, scoring on 18 November 1998 against Israel, but was not included in the squad for UEFA Euro 2000.[2] He also did not make the list for the 2002 FIFA World Cup due to injury, but he did participate at Euro 2004, where hosts Portugal finished in second place. In this tournament he played in three of his country's six matches, his most notable appearance coming against England in the quarter-finals: he came on as a second-half substitute and seized on Frank Lampard's wayward pass and crossed for Hélder Postiga, who headed in unmarked scoring the equalizing goal in the late minutes of the game, bringing it to extra time and an eventual successful penalty shootout, where he scored on his attempt.[39]

Simão in a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Denmark

Simão was also selected for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, finishing fourth overall. He played in all of the matches in the tournament, scoring only one goal on the 24th minute against Mexico, in a 2–1 group stage win;[40] on 1 July, in the quarter-finals, Portugal and England met again in a penalty shootout (0–0 after 120 minutes) and he helped to another victory, netting his attempt for the final 3–1 win.[41]

In Euro 2008, Simão played in three of Portugal's matches and did not find the net, as the nation was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Germany.[42]

While many looked at Ronaldo as the star of the national side, it was Simão who proved to be the matchwinner in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, finishing as Portugal's top scorer with four goals, including two in a 3–0 home win against Hungary.[43]

Simão was selected for the finals in South Africa: a starter from the second group stage match he scored precisely in that game, through a right-footed low shot in a 7–0 routing of North Korea on 21 June 2010.[44] On 27 August he stepped down from the national squad, citing personal reasons,[45] and gained 85 caps during his 12-year spell, netting 22 goals.[46]

International goals


# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 18 November 1998 Bonfim, Setúbal, Portugal  Israel 2–0 2–0 Friendly
2. 30 April 2003 Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands  Netherlands 1–1 1–1 Friendly
3. 20 August 2003 Estádio Municipal, Chaves, Portugal  Kazakhstan 1–0 1–0 Friendly
4. 11 October 2003 Restelo, Lisbon, Portugal  Albania 2–2 5–3 Friendly
5. 13 October 2004 José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Russia 5–1 7–1 2006 World Cup qualification
6. 3 September 2005 Estádio Algarve, Faro, Portugal  Luxembourg 5–0 6–0 2006 World Cup qualification
7. 3 September 2005 Estádio Algarve, Faro, Portugal  Luxembourg 6–0 6–0 2006 World Cup qualification
8. 3 June 2006 Saint-Symphorien, Metz, France  Luxembourg 0–1 0–3 Friendly
9. 3 June 2006 Saint-Symphorien, Metz, France  Luxembourg 0–2 0–3 Friendly
10. 21 June 2006 Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany  Mexico 2–0 2–1 2006 FIFA World Cup
11. 15 November 2006 Cidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal  Kazakhstan 1–0 3–0 Euro 2008 qualifying
12. 15 November 2006 Cidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal  Kazakhstan 3–0 3–0 Euro 2008 qualifying
13. 6 February 2007 Emirates Stadium, London, England  Brazil 0–1 0–2 Friendly
14. 12 September 2007 José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Serbia 1–0 1–1 Euro 2008 qualifying
15. 31 May 2008 Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, Leiria, Portugal  Georgia 2–0 2–0 Friendly
16. 20 August 2008 Estádio Municipal, Aveiro, Portugal  Faroe Islands 2–0 5–0 Friendly
17. 6 September 2008 Ta' Qali Stadium, Ta' Qali, Malta  Malta 0–3 0–4 2010 World Cup qualification
18. 19 November 2008 Bezerrão, Gama, Brazil  Brazil 4–2 6–2 Friendly
19. 10 October 2009 Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal  Hungary 1–0 3–0 2010 World Cup qualification
20. 10 October 2009 Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal  Hungary 3–0 3–0 2010 World Cup qualification
21. 14 October 2009 D. Afonso Henriques, Guimarães, Portugal  Malta 2–0 4–0 2010 World Cup qualification
22. 21 June 2010 Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa  North Korea 2–0 7–0 2010 FIFA World Cup

Outside football

Personal life

Simão was married to Filipa Valente for ten years, before their divorce in August 2011. The couple had a daughter and a son together.[49] In 2014, he fathered a son who was also given his name, born to Vanessa Rebelo, the ex-wife of his former Benfica teammate Bruno Aguiar.[50]

In March 2009, Simão took leave from Atlético to aid in the search for Diogo, the four-year-old son of his elder brother Serafim, who was reported missing when playing in the sea off Matosinhos.[51] It was later confirmed that he had drowned.[52]

Other ventures

Simão launched a DVD named "Como Se Faz um Campeão" ("How To Make A Champion"), where he teaches children how to play football. There, he addresses the basic technical elements of football: passing, receiving, free crossings or shootouts are explained in detail using elaborate technical effects of television, in a production unprecedented in national DVD history.[53]

Additionally, Sabrosa was the protagonist of a new campaign for the Sport TV HD, a high-definition channel offered by ZON Multimédia. It was shot on the outskirts of Lisbon, at Estádio Nacional, and the player is seen in the dressing room being painted before a football game. The objective is to disguise dark circles and other imperfections that become visible in transmissions in HD.[54]

Simão, alongside Lampard, is also on the cover of the Portuguese edition of FIFA 10, available for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and Wii. He said: "It's an honor to be part of the EA Sports FIFA. Being on the cover of this fantastic video game with such a rich history it's truly a great achievement for me".[55]

In 2010, Simão appeared in an advertisement for the budget menu at McDonalds, offering a trip to that year's World Cup.[56]

Career statistics


As of 22 October 2015.
Club Season League Cup Other Total
Sporting 1996–97[57] Primeira Liga 21100031
1997–98[57] 211002[lower-alpha 1]0231
1998–99[57] 3010002[lower-alpha 2]03210
Total 531210405812
Barcelona 1999–2000[58] La Liga 2114[lower-alpha 3]07[lower-alpha 1]0321
2000–01[58] 252419[lower-alpha 4]0383
Total 46381160704
Benfica 2001–02[57] Primeira Liga 2611102711
2002–03[57] 3318003318
2003–04[57] 31124110[lower-alpha 4]24515
2004–05[57] 34154310[lower-alpha 4]44823
2005–06[57] 248328[lower-alpha 1]23512
2006–07[57] 2411326[lower-alpha 1]13314
Total 1727515834922192
Atlético Madrid 2007–08[58] La Liga 307308[lower-alpha 2]34110
2008–09[58] 337308[lower-alpha 2]2449
2009–10[58] 3428317[lower-alpha 5]2597
2010–11[58] 164117[lower-alpha 6]1246
Total 1132015440816832
Beşiktaş 2010–11[59] Süper Lig 15553208
2011–12[59] 313209[lower-alpha 7]2425
Total 46873926213
Espanyol 2012–13[59] La Liga 26310273
2013–14[59] 34022362
Total 60332635
NorthEast United 2015[59] Indian Super League 1111
Career total 491122491810319643159
  1. 1 2 3 4 Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  2. 1 2 3 Appearances in UEFA Cup
  3. Includes 1 appearance in Supercopa de España
  4. 1 2 3 Appearances in UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League
  5. Appearances in UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League
  6. Appearances in UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup
  7. Appearances in UEFA Europa League


National team Year Apps Goals
Portugal 199811



Atlético Madrid






  1. City diary: Lisbon;, 17 May 2004
  2. 1 2 3 Sabrosa offers Barcelona ultimatum; BBC Sport, 18 July 2000
  3. "Miccoli to lead Benfica line". 31 August 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  4. "O Benfica de Simão" [Simão's Benfica] (in Portuguese). Record. 27 July 2001. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  5. "Simão é o capitão" [Simão is the captain] (in Portuguese). Record. 24 September 2003. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  6. "Simão até ao fim" [Simão until the end] (in Portuguese). Record. 19 March 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  7. "Em nome de Simão" [In the name of Simão] (in Portuguese). Record. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  8. "FC Porto 1–2 (a.p.) Benfica – Taça de Portugal 2003–2004" [FC Porto 1–2 (e.t.) Benfica – 2003–2004 Portuguese Cup]. Zerozero (in Portuguese). 16 May 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  9. Gonçalves, Pedro (25 April 2015). "Snap shot: When Benfica beat Mourinho's Porto". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  10. Portugal – List of Champions; at RSSSF
  11. "Meyong magic seals Setúbal joy". 29 May 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  12. Banská Bystrica 0–3 Benfica;, 16 September 2004
  13. Wallace, Sam (5 January 2006). "Liverpool confident they will land £8m Simao". London: The Independent. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  14. "Liverpool fail in move for Simao". BBC Sport. 31 August 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  15. "United save their best until last". 27 September 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  16. "Simão sends Liverpool crashing out". 8 March 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  17. "Sunday's gossip column". BBC Sport. 2 July 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  18. "Tuesday's gossip column". BBC Sport. 24 April 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  19. "Comunicado" [Announcement] (PDF) (in Portuguese). CMVM. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  20. "Simão enters Atlético history by scoring goal number 4,000". Atlético's official website. 13 April 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  21. "Simao Sabrosa proud to captain Atletico Madrid". 21 July 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  22. "APOEL denied by Simão strike". 25 November 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  23. "Cuando la realidad supera a la ficción" [When reality is greater than fiction] (in Spanish). Marca. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  24. "Simão Sabrosa abandona el Atlético de Madrid y ficha por el Besiktas" [Simão Sabrosa leaves Atlético de Madrid and signs with Besiktas] (in Spanish). Atlético's official website. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  25. "Simao Sabrosa Beşiktaş'ta" [Simao Sabrosa a Besiktas player] (in Turkish). Besiktas JK. 23 December 2010. Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  26. Besiktas futbol yatirimlari sanayi ve ticaret A.Ş. / BJKAS; KAP, 23 December 2010 (Turkish)
  27. "Atlético advantage reduced by old boy Simão". 8 March 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  28. Simao, happy to join RCD Espanyol; Espanyol's official website, 20 August 2012
  29. "Sevilla make point". Sky Sports. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  30. "Capdevila y Simao dejan el Espanyol" [Capdevila and Simao leave Espanyol] (in Spanish). Marca. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  31. "Former Barça and Espanyol man Simao Sabrosa set to retire from football". Sport. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  32. "Simao announced as NorthEast United's marquee signing". 25 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  33. "Former Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa joins Indian Super League". ESPN FC. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  34. "Preseason Tour : AmaZulu FC vs NorthEast United FC – Match Report". NorthEast United. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  35. "ISL 2015: In first touch, marquee players far from their best". The Indian Express. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  36. "Indian Super League: NorthEast United 2–0 Chennaiyin FC: Simao & Velez earn first points for NorthEast". 20 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  37. Chandra, Shikharr (3 November 2015). "Indian Super League: Delhi Dynamos 1–1 NorthEast United FC: Simao free-kick secures a point for the visitors". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  38. "ISL: Simao Sabrosa helps NorthEast United FC get past Atletico de Kolkata 1-0". IBN. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  39. "Hosts hold their nerve". 24 June 2004. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  40. Portugal progress as pool winners Archived 15 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.;, 21 June 2006
  41. England – Portugal Report;, 1 July 2006
  42. "Portugal ousted by German power show". 19 June 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  43. "Simao brace propels Portugal". 10 October 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  44. "Portugal pours it on in second half". The New York Times. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  45. "Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa retires from international football". 27 August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  46. "Simao Pedro Fonseca Sabrosa – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  47. "Portugal – Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  48. "Simão Sabrosa". Portuguese Football Federation. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  49. "Filipa Sabrosa confirma divórcio" [Filipa Sabrosa confirms divorce] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  50. Moutinho, Evelise (28 June 2015). "Fotos: Simão Sabrosa e Vanessa Aguiar Rebelo batizam Simão" [Photos: Simão Sabrosa and Vanessa Aguiar Rebelo baptise Simão] (in Portuguese). Lux. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  51. "Simao viajó el lunes a Portugal por un drama familiar" [Simão Sabrosa travelled to Portugal on Monday due to a family crisis] (in Spanish). Marca. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  52. "Irmão de Simão Sabrosa desolada com a morte do filho" [Brother of Simão Sabrosa devastated by death of his son] (in Portuguese). Caras. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  53. Simão Sabrosa – Como Se Faz Um Campeão; at (Portuguese)
  54. "Simão é rosto de campanha do canal HD da Sport TV" [Simão is face of Sport TV HD channel's campaign] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 2 September 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  55. "Simão Sabrosa imagem FIFA 10 em Portugal" [Simão Sabrosa FIFA 10 cover in Portugal] (in Portuguese). EA Portugal. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  56. "Simão Sabrosa na nova campanha "Europoupança" da McDonald's" [Simão Sabrosa in McDonalds' new "Eurosaver" campaign] (in Portuguese). Briefing. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  57. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Simão Sabrosa profile at ForaDeJogo. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  58. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Simao: Simao Pedro Fonseca Sabrosa". BDFutbol. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  59. 1 2 3 4 5 Simão profile at Soccerway. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  60. "Portugal – List of Topscorers". RSSSF. 25 June 2015. Archived from the original on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  61. "Simão foi o melhor da época" [Simão was the best of the season] (in Portuguese). Record. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  62. "Veloso é a revelação, Simão é a consagração" [Veloso is the newcomer, Simão the consecration] (in Portuguese). CNID. 30 June 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  63. "Gala do Benfica: Aimar distinguido como o melhor de 2010/11" [Benfica Gala: Aimar distinguished as the best of 2010–11] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2016. Simão (2006)
  64. "Rosa Mota e Carlos Lopes recebem prémio Fernando Soromenho" [Rosa Mota and Carlos Lopes receive Fernando Soromenho Award] (in Portuguese). Associação dos Jornalistas de Desporto. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  65. "Selecção distinguida pelo Duque de Bragança" [National team honoured by Duke of Bragança] (in Portuguese). Cristiano Ronaldo News. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
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