Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈroːnɑlt ˈkumɑn] (listen); born 21 March 1963) is a Dutch professional football manager and former player, who is the current head coach of La Liga club Barcelona. He is the younger brother of his former international teammate Erwin Koeman and the son of former Dutch international Martin Koeman. Koeman was capable of playing both as a defender and as a midfielder; he frequently played as a sweeper, although he was equally known for his goalscoring, long–range shooting, and accuracy from free kicks and penalties.

Ronald Koeman
Koeman in 2014
Personal information
Full name Ronald Koeman[1]
Date of birth (1963-03-21) 21 March 1963[2]
Place of birth Zaandam, Netherlands[2]
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
Position(s) Defender, midfielder
Club information
Current team
Barcelona (head coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1980–1983 Groningen 90 (34)
1983–1986 Ajax 94 (23)
1986–1989 PSV Eindhoven 98 (51)
1989–1995 Barcelona 192 (67)
1995–1997 Feyenoord 61 (19)
Total 535 (194)
National team
1983–1994 Netherlands 78 (14)
Teams managed
2000–2001 Vitesse
2001–2005 Ajax
2005–2006 Benfica
2006–2007 PSV Eindhoven
2007–2008 Valencia
2009 AZ Alkmaar
2011–2014 Feyenoord
2014–2016 Southampton
2016–2017 Everton
2018–2020 Netherlands
2020– Barcelona
Representing  Netherlands
UEFA European Championship
Winner1988 West Germany
1992 Sweden
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Born in Zaandam, Koeman began his career at Groningen before transferring to the Netherlands' most successful club Ajax in 1983, where he won the national Eredivisie title in 1984–85. He then joined Ajax's rivals PSV Eindhoven in 1986, winning three consecutive Eredivisie titles (1986–87, 1987–88 and 1988–89) and the European Cup in 1988. Ronald Koeman is one of five European players to ever win a treble with their club and a cup with their national team in the same year. The other four players are his teammates Hans van Breukelen, Berry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg and Wim Kieft. In 1989, Koeman moved to Barcelona and became part of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team", helping the club win La Liga four years in a row between 1991 and 1994, and the 1991–92 European Cup, where he scored the winning goal of the final against Sampdoria.

At international level, Koeman was one of the stars of the Netherlands national team, alongside Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp. During his career with the Netherlands, Koeman won UEFA Euro 1988 and played at the UEFA Euro 1992, 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, captaining the team at the latter.

As a head coach, Koeman has won three Eredivisie titles: twice with Ajax (2001–02 and 2003–04) and once with PSV Eindhoven (2006–07). He is the only individual to have both played for and managed the "Big Three" of Dutch football: Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord.[3] Abroad, he had spells in Portugal with Benfica and Spain with Valencia, coaching Los Ché to victory in the 2007–08 Copa del Rey,[4] and managed Premier League clubs Southampton and Everton in the 2010s. He was the manager of the Netherlands national team between 2018 and 2020. In August 2020, he was appointed as the manager of Barcelona following the departure of Quique Setién.

Club career


Koeman started his professional career at Groningen, making his debut at the age of 17 years and 183 days in a 2–0 win over NEC in the Eredivisie. This made him the third-youngest player in the club's history, after Piet Wildschut and Bert de Voogt.[5] Thirty-three goals from ninety appearances in his three seasons at the club saw the young defender called up by the Netherlands national team and earn a transfer to Eredivisie champions Ajax. After failing to defend their title in Koeman's first season at the club, the Amsterdam team regained the championship in 1984–85. The following season saw Johan Cruyff take over as Ajax head coach and, despite scoring 120 goals in 34 Eredivisie matches and winning the KNVB Cup, de Godenzonen could only finish second in the league behind rivals PSV Eindhoven.

Koeman (extreme right) celebrating the equalizer with Eric Gerets and Edward Linskens in the 1987–88 European Cup semi-final at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid

In the summer of 1986, Koeman controversially transferred to PSV Eindhoven to play for Hans Kraay's champions. Towards the end of the 1986–87 season, Kraay resigned and was replaced by Guus Hiddink, under the management of whom PSV overtook league leaders Ajax in the final weeks of the season to defend their league title. Koeman enjoyed further success with Hiddink and PSV in the following seasons, as the team also won the 1987–88 and 1988–89 Eredivisie titles and the club's first, and to date only, European Cup against Benfica in Stuttgart on 25 May 1988. PSV had also won the KNVB Cup in both 1988 and 1989, making their successes in the two years trebles and doubles respectively. In his three seasons at PSV, Koeman scored 51 goals in 98 league appearances, averaging more than one goal every two matches. During 1987–88 season, he recorded the highest scoring season of his club career, with 21 goals scored in the league.[6]


In 1989, Koeman re-joined his former Ajax coach Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, where he became a member of the famous "Dream Team". During his first season at the club, Barcelona won the Copa del Rey, beating Real Madrid 2–0 in the final.[7] Along with players such as Hristo Stoichkov, Romário, Pep Guardiola and Michael Laudrup, Koeman helped the club win La Liga four years in a row from 1991 to 1994. In 1992, he scored the only goal of the European Cup Final against Sampdoria at Wembley Stadium to make Barça European Champion for the first time in its history.[8] With this, he became the first player to score in two consecutive finals of different European competitions, having scored Barcelona's consolation goal in a 1–2 defeat against Manchester United in the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup Final.

Koeman was also known for his powerful right-footed free kicks and deadball ability where he scored many vital goals for the team.[9] One of his best strikes in La Liga came in the memorable 5–0 win over Real Madrid in 1994, with his bending free kick making the scoreline 2–0.[10] Koeman was joint-top scorer with eight goals in the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, in which Barcelona were beaten 0–4 in the final by A.C. Milan at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.

His nicknames while playing for Barcelona were Tintin, due to his physical similarity with Hergé's fictional character, and Floquet de Neu, after the famous albino gorilla in the Barcelona Zoo.[11]

Return to the Netherlands and retirement

After six years and over 200 appearances at Barcelona, Koeman left Spain to return to the Netherlands in 1995. In joining Feyenoord, he became one of the few players to represent all of Dutch football's "Big Three". Koeman spent two seasons in Rotterdam, captaining Feyenoord to third- and second-place finishes in the Eredivisie respectively.

Koeman ended his career with 193 league goals from 533 matches (ahead of Daniel Passarella, who netted 182 goals in 556 matches) during his career, more than any other defender in the history of football.[12]

International career

Ronald together with Frank Rijkaard (left), Erwin (second from right) and Ruud Gullit (right) in the Dutch national team in 1983

In April 1983, Koeman debuted for the Netherlands national team in a 3–0 friendly loss to Sweden in Utrecht. This match also marked the first Oranje appearance for his elder brother Erwin. Ronald's first international goal came in September of the same year, in a 3–0 victory of Iceland at Groningen's Oosterpark Stadion.

With the Netherlands unable to qualify for UEFA Euro 1984 and the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Koeman's tournament debut came at Euro 1988 in West Germany, where Rinus Michels' team defeated the hosts at the semi-final stage, with Koeman scoring a crucial penalty to equalize and make it 1–1. After this match, Koeman provocatively pretended to wipe his backside with the shirt of Olaf Thon in front of the home supporters.[13] In the final, the Netherlands defeated the Soviet Union 2–0 at Munich's Olympiastadion to win the nation's only major international trophy. This completed Koeman's extraordinary 1988 after winning the treble with PSV.[lower-alpha 1][14] Both Koeman and his central defensive partner Frank Rijkaard were named in UEFA's Team of the Tournament.

Koeman went on to represent his nation at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, as well as Euro 1992, and picked up a total of 78 caps for the Netherlands, scoring 14 goals.

Managerial career

Early years

Having retired as a player after his stint with Feyenoord, Koeman became a member of the Netherlands national football team coaching staff of Guus Hiddink during the 1998 World Cup along with Johan Neeskens and Frank Rijkaard. After the tournament, Koeman was appointed the assistant coach of Barcelona, and in 2000, he was handed his first managerial job as the head coach of Vitesse, where he led the team to a UEFA Cup spot on a relatively limited budget.


Koeman was appointed the manager of Ajax in 2001. Ajax's fortunes suffered a steady decline after Koeman got off to a successful start at the Amsterdam Arena, winning a domestic double in 2001–02. Despite regaining the title in 2003–04, Ajax had fallen eight points behind rivals PSV in the Eredivisie. This situation, coupled with Ajax being knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Auxerre, 3–2 on aggregate, led Koeman to resign the following day on 25 February 2005.[15]


Koeman bounced back quickly from a disappointing end to his reign at Ajax in February 2005, taking up the vacant position at Portuguese champions Benfica following the departure of legendary Italian Giovanni Trapattoni. In Benfica, against whom he won the 1988 European Cup Final as a player with PSV, Koeman only won the Portuguese Super Cup; the team finished the Portuguese League in third place (behind rivals Porto and Sporting CP) and was knocked out of the Taça de Portugal in the quarter-finals (after losing to Vitória de Guimarães). This, along with an offer from PSV, sufficed for the manager to leave one year before the end of his contract. Under Koeman, Benfica did reach the quarter-finals of the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League; eliminating Manchester United in the final game of the group stage and Liverpool in the first knockout stage,[16][17] before losing to Barcelona on an aggregate score of 0–2, who ended up winning the trophy.

PSV Eindhoven

In the 2006–07 season, Koeman served as head coach of PSV, as successor to Guus Hiddink. PSV dominated the first season half, keeping competitors AZ Alkmaar and Ajax at a reasonable distance, and PSV seemed almost destined to become champions again. PSV, however, suffered in the second half of the season, also because of injuries of players Jefferson Farfán, Alex and Ibrahim Afellay, obtaining only 19 out 39 possible points.[18] Alkmaar and Ajax regained their momentum, making for a close finish, with all three teams tied at 72 points before the last competition day. Alkmaar played struggling Excelsior in their final match, but did not manage to win. Ajax played at Willem II, but did not score enough goals; it was PSV eventually who triumphed, winning at home 5–1 against Vitesse, and thereby becoming Eredivisie champions, one goal ahead of Ajax.

For the second consecutive season he guided a team to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, this time defeating another English club in the shape of Arsenal in the first knockout stage by an aggregate score of 2–1,[19] before losing 4–0 on aggregate to eventual runners-up Liverpool in the quarter-finals.[20]


On 31 October 2007, Koeman agreed to be the new coach of Valencia after the sacking of Quique Sánchez Flores, starting on 5 November 2007.[21] With Valencia, he won the 2007–08 Copa del Rey, a tournament he previously won as a player with Barcelona. This was Valencia's first Copa del Rey since 1999.[22] The remainder of his tenure at Valencia would prove disappointing: the team would slump to 15th in the league, only two points above the relegation zone, as well as finishing bottom of their Champions League group. A 1–5 defeat by Athletic Bilbao would prove the final straw for Koeman's time with Valencia. He was sacked the following day, on 21 April 2008.[22]

AZ Alkmaar

Koeman was appointed manager of AZ Alkmaar on 18 May 2009,[23] after Louis van Gaal, who won the 2008–09 Eredivisie with Alkmaar, joined Bayern Munich. On 5 December 2009, Alkmaar announced that Koeman no longer was in charge of the club, after losing 7 of the first 16 games in the Dutch competition.[24]


Koeman with Feyenoord

On 21 July 2011, Koeman was appointed manager of Feyenoord, signing a one-year contract with the Dutch club as replacement for outgoing trainer Mario Been.[25] Through this appointment, Koeman notably became the first individual ever to serve as both player and head coach at all teams of the so-called "traditional big three" of Dutch football – Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.[26] Moreover, he has completed this in the same order as player and as manager. At the beginning of 2012, it was announced that his contract was extended. In February 2014, Koeman announced that he would leave his position at Feyenoord at the end of the 2013–14 season to pursue other ambitions.[27]


Koeman as manager of Southampton in September 2014

In June 2014, Koeman was announced as the replacement for Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, signing a three-year deal with the club. His brother Erwin was appointed assistant manager.[28]

In his first six Premier League games in charge of the club, Koeman managed four wins, a draw and a defeat, propelling Southampton to second place in the league standings and resulting in Koeman being named Premier League Manager of the Month for September.[29][30] In January 2015, Southampton won all three of their matches, including a first win at Manchester United since 1988, and Koeman was again named Manager of the Month.[31] He led Southampton to a seventh-place finish at the end of the season.[32]

Koeman won his third Premier League Manager of the Month for January 2016,[33] on the way to Southampton's highest ever Premier League finish, sixth place, highest ever Premier League points total, 63, and qualification for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.[34]


On 14 June 2016, Koeman was confirmed as manager of Everton, signing a three-year contract.[35] His brother was again hired as his assistant.[36] In his first season, Koeman led Everton to qualification for the Europa League.[37]

Prior to the 2017–18 season, Koeman was given the largest budget in Everton's history to spend on new players.[38] An estimated £150 million was spent on new players, but Koeman admitted that he had not bought a centre forward to replace Romelu Lukaku, the previous season's squad top scorer who had been sold to Manchester United.[39] Koeman was sacked by the club on 23 October 2017, after his side fell into the relegation zone, following a 2–5 home defeat against Arsenal the previous day.[40][41] Koeman later stated his belief that the failure to sign Olivier Giroud in the summer transfer window contributed to his sacking.[42]


On 6 February 2018, Koeman was appointed manager of the Netherlands national football team on a four-and-half-year contract up to and including the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He replaced Dick Advocaat who resigned after failing to guide the Netherlands to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[43]

On 9 June 2019, Netherlands finished runners-up in the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League after a 0–1 defeat against Portugal in the final.[44]

On 19 August 2020, Koeman left the national team to become manager of Barcelona. Under his management, Netherlands qualified for a final tournament, UEFA Euro 2020, for the first time since the 2014 FIFA World Cup after missing out on the UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[45]


On 19 August 2020, Koeman was announced as the new manager of Barcelona, on a two-year contract until 30 June 2022.[46] He took over after Quique Setién had been dismissed from the post[47] following a disastrous 8–2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarter final of the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League.[48] In his first competitive game in charge, Barcelona beat Villarreal 4–0 at the Camp Nou in La Liga.[49] On 17 October, Koeman suffered his first loss as Barcelona manager after a 1–0 away defeat against Getafe.[50] On 24 October, he lost the first El Clásico of the season to arch rivals Real Madrid by a 3–1 scoreline. That defeat was followed by a 1–1 draw against Alavés, which resulted in Barcelona equalling their worst tally after the first six games in La Liga (8 points, as few as in 2002–03 season).[51]

On 17 January 2021, Koeman managed Barcelona for the first time in a cup final, with his side losing 3–2 to Athletic Bilbao after extra time in the final of the 2020–21 Supercopa de España at the Estadio La Cartuja in Seville.[52] On 7 February, Koeman led Barcelona to their sixth consecutive away win in La Liga after winning 3–2 against Real Betis, equalling Luis Enrique's feat achieved in the 2015–16 season.[53] On 11 March, Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 against PSG after failing to turn around a 1–4 loss at home, losing 2–5 on aggregrate.[54] On 10 April, Barcelona's 19 game unbeaten run in La Liga came to an end after falling to Real Madrid 2–1 away from home in the second El Clásico of the season. On 17 April, Koeman led Barça to a 4–0 win over Athletic Bilbao the 2021 Copa del Rey Final, gaining revenge for the Supercopa defeat at the same venue three months earlier.[55] On 29 April, Barcelona were presented with a golden opportunity to go top of La Liga but failed to capitalize after losing out to Granada away 2–1 despite taking the lead.[56] Barcelona's title charge ended with a disappointment after winning only two of their last five matches and eventually finished third in the league table. On 3 June, club president Joan Laporta confirmed that Koeman would be staying incharge for another season.[57]

Style of play

A composed player on the ball, Koeman was capable of being deployed both as a defender and as a midfielder, and he frequently played as a sweeper, due to his vision and his ability on the ball.[58] Regarded as one of the best and most prolific attacking central defenders of all time, due to his eye for goal,[59] Koeman was renowned for his long-range passing, as well as his shooting accuracy and power from distance, especially on free kicks; is the top scoring defender in world football,[12][60] and Barcelona's top scoring defender.[61] A versatile set piece specialist, Koeman was nicknamed the King of free kicks, and was capable of striking the ball with power from long range free kicks, or curling shots on goal from close range;[62][63][60] he was also an accurate penalty kick taker.[60] Regarding his unique run-up and approach to taking free kicks and penalties, Rob Smyth of The Guardian commented in 2009: "We tend to associate Koeman with that particular type of free-kick, where he would lace the ball in a manner that was paradoxically sledgehammer rather than silk, yet if anything he was more adept at the seductive, shorter-range curler. As with his penalties, when he would charge towards the ball like a man with murder in mind only to tap it gently into the net, part of the skill was in the deception. With Koeman, there was more than one way to skin a defensive wall; as all Englishmen know well, he could flippin' flip one as well."[63]


Koeman is the top scoring defender in world football,[12] and Barcelona's top scoring defender, with 90 goals in all competitions.[61] An accurate free kick and penalty kick taker, Koeman was nicknamed the King of free kicks throughout his playing career, and is Barcelona's second-highest goalscorer from free kicks, behind current club captain Lionel Messi, with 26 goals from set pieces in all competitions;[62][64] he is also Barcelona's second-highest scorer from penalties in La Liga, behind Messi once again, with 46 goals from spot kicks, and the highest scoring defender in La Liga from penalties.[61][65] With 67 goals, he is the second most prolific defender in La Liga history, behind Sergio Ramos.[66] He currently holds the record for 25 consecutive successful penalty conversions in La Liga.[67]

Personal life

Ronald is the younger brother of Erwin, who was the head coach of Oman, being the first set of brothers to take charge of two different national teams at the same time.[68]

He is married to Bartina Koeman.[69] Their son, Ronald Koeman Jr., is a professional goalkeeper for FC Oss in the Eerste Divisie.[70] Apart from Dutch, he can also speak English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Koeman is an ambassador for the anti-smoking campaign Kick it with Help. He said that the cancer diagnoses of his wife and his friend Johan Cruyff motivated him to join the campaign.[69]

During the transfer as a manager to Barcelona in 2020, Koeman was filmed for a 3-part docuseries entitled, Força Koeman. The series can be seen on Dutch streaming service "videoland" from 17 February 2021.[71]

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[72][73][74][75][76]
Club Season League Cup Super Cup Continental Other[n 1][n 2] Total
Groningen 1980–81 Eredivisie 24432276
1981–82 Eredivisie 3314103414
1982–83 Eredivisie 3314403714
Total 9032829834
Ajax 1983–84 Eredivisie 3274220389
1984–85 Eredivisie 30921433613
1985–86 Eredivisie 3276120408
Total 94231248311430
PSV 1986–87 Eredivisie 341633203919
1987–88 Eredivisie 322164814626
1988–89 Eredivisie 32146142314518
Total 98511581433113063
Barcelona 1989–90 La Liga 36147441104819
1990–91 La Liga 2164200743212
1991–92 La Liga 351620101114917
1992–93 La Liga 3311301030304311
1993–94 La Liga 351120101285019
1994–95 La Liga 3291010814210
Total 192671964045154026488
Feyenoord 1995–96 Eredivisie 31103110734214
1996–97 Eredivisie 3092050379
Total 611951101237923
Career total 535193592150792471685239


Appearances and goals by national team and year[77]
National teamYearAppsGoals
Netherlands 198361
Scores and results list Netherlands's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Koeman goal.[78]
List of international goals scored by Ronald Koeman
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
17 September 1983Oosterpark Stadion, Groningen, Netherlands Iceland1–03–0UEFA Euro 1984 qualifier
29 December 1987Stadion De Meer, Amsterdam, Netherlands Cyprus3–04–0UEFA Euro 1988 qualifier
316 December 1987Diagoras Stadium, Rhodes, Greece Greece1–03–0UEFA Euro 1988 qualifier
421 June 1988Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, West Germany West Germany1–12–1UEFA Euro 1988
522 March 1989Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands Soviet Union2–02–0Friendly
66 September 1989Olympisch Stadion, Amsterdam, Netherlands Denmark1–02–2Friendly
715 November 1989De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands Finland3–03–01990 FIFA World Cup qualifier
828 March 1990Republican Stadium, Kyiv, Ukraine Soviet Union1–11–2Friendly
930 May 1990Praterstadion, Vienna, Austria Austria1–32–3Friendly
1024 June 1990San Siro, Milan, Italy West Germany1–21–21990 FIFA World Cup
1122 September 1993Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna, Italy San Marino7–07–01994 FIFA World Cup qualifier
1213 October 1993De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands England1–02–01994 FIFA World Cup qualifier
1319 January 1994Stade El Menzah, Tunis, Tunisia Tunisia2–22–2Friendly
141 June 1994Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands Hungary3–17–1Friendly

Managerial statistics

Managerial statistics

As of match played 22 May 2021[72][79]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Vitesse 1 January 2000 2 December 2001 79 40 23 16 132 77 +55 050.63
Ajax 3 December 2001 25 February 2005 151 94 30 27 322 147 +175 062.25
Benfica 8 June 2005 8 May 2006 49 27 11 11 64 38 +26 055.10
PSV 1 July 2006 31 October 2007 63 38 11 14 118 54 +64 060.32
Valencia 5 November 2007 21 April 2008 34 11 9 14 38 47 −9 032.35
AZ 18 May 2009 5 December 2009 24 11 4 9 44 30 +14 045.83
Feyenoord 21 July 2011 31 May 2014 118 67 23 28 237 137 +100 056.78
Southampton 16 June 2014 14 June 2016 91 44 17 30 140 93 +47 048.35
Everton 14 June 2016 23 October 2017 58 24 14 20 85 74 +11 041.38
Netherlands 6 February 2018 18 August 2020 20 11 5 4 43 18 +25 055.00
Barcelona 19 August 2020 Present 54 34 9 11 122 58 +64 062.96
Total 741 401 156 184 1,345 775 +570 054.12




  • Eredivisie: 1984–85[80]
  • KNVB Cup: 1985–86[80]



  • La Liga: 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94[80]
  • Copa del Rey: 1989–90[80]
  • Supercopa de España: 1991, 1992, 1994[80]
  • European Cup: 1991–92[80]
  • European Super Cup: 1992[80]



  • Dutch Footballer of the Year: 1987, 1988
  • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 1988[81]
  • UEFA Champions League top scorer: 1993–94
  • UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll: No. 26



  • Eredivisie: 2001–02, 2003–04
  • KNVB Cup: 2001–02
  • Johan Cruyff Shield: 2002


  • Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 2005

PSV Eindhoven

  • Eredivisie: 2006–07


  • Copa del Rey: 2007–08

AZ Alkmaar

  • Johan Cruyff Shield: 2009


  • UEFA Nations League runner-up: 2018-19[82]


  • Copa del Rey: 2020–21[55]



  1. 1987–88 PSV Eindhoven season
    •  European Treble
      •  Eredivisie champions
      •  KNVB Cup winners
      •  European Cup winners
  1. Includes 1988 European Super Cup (two matches) and 1988 Intercontinental Cup (one match, one goal).
  2. Includes 1989 European Super Cup, 1992 European Super Cup and 1992 Intercontinental Cup (one match).


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