50 Biggest Mistakes in World Football History

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentNovember 9, 2011

50 Biggest Mistakes in World Football History

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    We all make mistakes in life. 

    In fact, novelist Chuck Palahniuk (the guy who wrote Fight Club) believes our birth is a mistake and that we go through life attempting to rectify it. 

    The history of football is glittered with mistakes, some with minor consequences, others with severe consequences. 

    It's impossible to create an exhaustive list, so comment below with some of the mistakes you believe should be on the list. 

Mamadou Niang's "Sporting" Gesture

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    I unfortunately had to witness this incident. One filled with unsportsmanlike conduct that boiled over into anti-social conduct. 

    It's the Asian Champions League semifinals between Al-Sadd and Suwon Bluewings. 

    One of Suwon's players are injured though the Korean team continue to play on. 

    Yet when they lose possession, they raise their hands up expecting Al-Saad to be sporting. 

    Well they aren't and Mamadou Niang scores. 

    Cue the fighting. 

    Somewhat similar to when Marc Overmars scored against Sheffield United when they were expecting sportsmanlike play. 

Brian Clough Man Management 101

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    The Damned United is a great film but has come under scrutiny for various inaccuracies. 

    The late Lord Harewood and former Leeds United President, however, confirmed the scene in the video:

    "He [Brian Clough] really did tell the team they could throw away all their medals because they cheated all the time. That was an incredible thing to do to a team that was top in England. As a piece of bad psychology it was hard to rival."

    Not only was it bad psychology but it was a bad first impression, one which alienated Clough from the team. 

    No wonder he only lasted 44 days. 

Throw Ins?

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    It's a paradox that an outfielder can't touch the ball when it's in play, yet when it's out of play, he is forced to throw the ball back in. 

    Why not just have kick-ins where it must be a short pass? 

    Oh well, at least Rory Delap has a job. 

Rafael Márquez Trying to Be Like Rafael Márquez and Then Doing a Phantom Sack

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    So New York Redbulls' Rafael Márquez attempted to be like former world boxing champion Rafael Márquez but missed his punch. 

    Then Márquez disgracefully dived as if he had been punched. 

    It's not the first time I've seen Márquez act like Pepe, and it was a massive mistake from the Mexican from a moral, a public relations and a professional standpoint. 

Chris Mavinga Auditioning for the UFC

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    It's rare to see an actual life-threatening "tackle"—a more accurate description would be assault—on the football field. 

€31.6 Million Waste on Mancini and Ricardo Quaresma

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    José Mourinho's blueprint was simple: Buying Mancini and Ricardo Quaresma would form an unbelievable triumvirate with Zlatan Ibrahimović.

    It didn't and it left a bitter taste in Massimo Moratti's mouth as he was conned out of €31.6 million. 

    It didn't stop Mourinho from asking for more money the next season. Moratti obliged (either that or sack the Special One) and the rest is history. 

From Calvin Klein to Cocaine

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    Robbie Fowler infamously celebrated by lifting his Liverpool jersey to reveal what at first seemed to be Calvin Klein, but in fact it was a message to the Liverpool dockers who were striking. 

    That's the Fowler celebration that should be remembered.

    Instead, people will probably remember one of Fowler's more sordid celebrations.

    The snorting celebration against Everton to convey snorting cocaine. 

Luis Suárez's Edward Cullen Moment

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    "He bit someone, which one of us hasn't bit anyone?"

    If you didn't see Luis Suárez biting someone go viral, go check it out. 

    It's another one of those impulsive decisions the talented Uruguayan makes. Like he could have headed the ball instead of handballing it against Ghana. 

    Hopefully, the newest controversy of him allegedly racially abusing Patrice Evra is not true. Right now, it's one man's word against another. 

    I say, both of them go take lie-detector tests and see which one is lying. 

FIFA's Decision to Hand out Yellow Cards for Taking Your Shirt off

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    I cannot understand why taking your jersey off is a yellow card offence. 

    It's a rule that takes away some instinctive celebratory moments. 

Inter Milan Selecting the Wrong Baresi

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    Well Inter Milan could have had both Baresi brothers, instead they chose Giuseppe. 

    21 trophies later for A.C. Milan, Inter Milan may be regretting the choice not to select Franco. 

Ronaldo Not a Flamengo

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    It took little-known São Cristóvão to discover Ronaldo before Cruzeiro gave Ronaldo his professional debut. 

    Flamengo had a chance to sign Ronaldo but they rejected him. 

    Ronaldo's years at PSV and Barcelona were phenomenal so who knows what those Flamengo scouts were thinking. 

£300,000 Flop

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    In 1967, Inter Milan broke the bank to buy Harald Nielsen for  £300,000—then the world transfer fee record by a £50,000 margin.

    Nielsen played eight games for the Nerazzurri before being offloaded to Napoli. 

    Interestingly, Angelo Moratti (the father of Massimo), who sanctioned the transfer, stepped down a year later. 

Steve Daley Couldn't Cope with His £1,437,500 Transfer Fee

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    A few hundred thousand pounds short of Paolo Rossi's world record transfer fee, the £1,437,500 Manchester City (ironic isn't) paid for Steve Daley was a then British record transfer fee. 

    Daley could not cope with the enormity of his transfer fee. 

Paolo Di Canio's Insensitive Salute

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    The Roman salute is synonymous to the vitriol and hatred of the Nazi party. 

    You cannot be fascist without being racist. 

    Something Paolo Di Canio does not understand. 

    To give you an idea of how serious his offence was, the Roman salute is a criminal offence in Austria and Germany. 

Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer Helping Newcastle's Cause

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    3-0 down and a man down, Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer forgot about the team and just went at it. 

    What's unfortunate for both men is that this incident will forever be a footnote in their careers. 

    It's especially sad for Dyer because he has some real talent, or had, as his career has been riddled with injuries. 

Graham Poll Losing His Bearings

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    Maybe not in local games, but surely in official games, referee Graham Poll would have done his research on every single player from both teams.

    He would have found out that there are a few Australians in the Croatian team, specifically Josip Šimunić, who was born and bred in Australia, trained by the Australian Institute of Sport, so he would have an Australian accent. 

    Instead Poll used this as the reason why he erroneously carded Šimunić three times, the first yellow he confused the Croatian with Australian skipper Craig Moore. 

Barbosa's Misery

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    Brazil were heavy favourites to win the 1950 FIFA World Cup, and when they didn't, people started turning on Barbosa the goalkeeper. 

    He was beaten at his near post and he had to live with the taunts until he died:

    "The maximum punishment in Brazil is 30 years imprisonment, but I have been paying, for something I am not even responsible for, by now, for 50 years."


Antonio Cassano's Costly Career Mistake

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    Antonio Cassano was set to become a living Roman legend like Francesco Totti.

    Their build up play boarded on telepathic. 

    Yet Cassano ditched Totti and Roma (Totti has never forgiven Cassano) for Real Madrid. 

    It was a career-debilitating move because not only was he an outcast, but he also gained weight, lost the desire to play, lost discipline and wasted two years. 

    I do wonder if his health problems right now (and I hope he recovers quickly) are linked to his time at Madrid. 

Signing Ali Dia

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    Graeme Souness, I hope you do know that Blyth Spartans is not  Paris Saint-Germain.

    Mind you, Souness was tricked into signing Ali Dia, but why didn't he conduct a simple background check? 

    Souness was a great player but an awful manager. 

Chelsea Signing Fernando Torres

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    Regardless of Fernando Torres' Stephane Guivarc’h-esq FIFA World Cup, having his worse season for Liverpool, losing that ability to beat defenders—Chelsea still bought him for £50 million!

    The positives are that it seems he'll turn out to be a good player for the club. 

    I liken the situation to Marc Overmars at Barcelona. 

Roberto Baggio the Scapegoat

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    Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro missed their penalty, yet Roberto Baggio was blamed for his mistake, which ended Italy's FIFA World Cup dreams. 

Howard Webb Too Lenient

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    I do not know how referee Howard Webb missed the assault that happened right in front of him. 

    That for me triggered what was an ugly FIFA World Cup final. 

    The stereotype of the Dutch being technicians was thrown out the window. 

René Higuita's El Loco Moment

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    René Higuita would effectively end any chance for Colombia to progress further in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. 

    Though he did make Roger Milla an icon. 

Byron Moreno's Infamy

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    Italians will remember the name Byron Moreno just like Australians will remember the name Fabio Grosso. 

    Guus Hiddink had instilled this steely and mean persona into the South Koreans. It boarded on dirty.

    The world would see the same tactics used by Chelsea against Barcelona, except this time, the referee was against Chelsea. 

    Maybe it was karma for Hiddink, whose nickname of lucky Guus also didn't do itself justice for Australia. 

Eric Cantona Walks the Walk

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    You see this is why you don't mess with a mean-looking and, at times, crazy 6'2" Eric Cantona.

    I love his quote to the media:

    "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

Diego Maradona a Blade?

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    In 1978, then Sheffield United manager Harry Haslam was so impressed by a young Diego Maradona that £200,000 was arranged to buy him.

    However, Sheffield United were not desperate enough to summon up the cash. 

    Remember, this was a Maradona who was deemed too young for the 1978 FIFA World Cup squad. A decision vindicated by the team bringing home the trophy. 

Claude Makélélé's Forgotten Influence

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    “We will not miss Makélelé. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn’t a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten”.

    This was Florentino Pérez, and talk about being blunt in assessing a player who was influential in winning seven trophies in three seasons. 

    Pérez had forced Makélelé out after denying the Frenchman's request for an increased salary. 

    From 2003-2006, Pérez refused to buy another player competent enough to fill the Makélélé role, Real went trophyless leading to the resignation of Pérez.

Ronaldinho Not Pretty Enough for Real Madrid

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    With the chance to sign Paris Saint-Germain starlet Ronaldinho, Florentino Pérez did not believe Ronaldinho was pretty enough to be a Real Madrid player. So he decided to sign David Beckham.

    From 2003-2006, Florentino Pérez watched on as a Ronaldinho-influenced Barcelona won two La Liga titles and the 2005-2006 Champions League title.

Mario Balotelli Giving a Reason for His Own Fans to Hate Him

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    Throwing the team's shirt away as if it means nothing to you is the best way to alienate you from your own fans. 

    Up until then, some Inter Milan supporters believed Mario Balotelli was just misunderstood; instead, they finally saw what the rest of the world saw. 

    For Christmas, someone should give Balotelli Dale Carnegie's book on How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Laurent Blanc Showing His Real Side

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    Last year, French investigative website Mediapart broke the story that French manager Laurent Blanc allegedly gave the go-ahead to place a 30 percent quota on the amount of young black and Arab youngsters allowed to train at some of France's football academies like Clairefontaine.  

    The worst form of racism is institutional racism, where it isn't obvious but more covert and against an establishment that an individual cannot bring down. 

    It's wrong and it's shameful that Blanc is still the manager of the French team. 

    How can minority players feel comfortable with someone who attempted to place a quota on minorities. 

Ronaldo Perhaps the Reason Why Brazil Didn't Win the 1998 FIFA World Cup Finals

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    On the eve of the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals, Ronaldo had suffered a convulsive fit which visibly shook his teammates.

    Here is Zico's recount:

    "When I got to the locker room, Ronaldo was standing there in game shorts (and) socks, told Lidio that he had played the entire Cup, exams hadn’t proven anything, and he was going to play. If it had happened the day before, I think the team would have recovered. But as it was on the same day, the group was divided. Leonardo, for example, kept asking if Ronaldo was in danger of dying."

    Take nothing away from the French, who were brilliant even without a starting forward who could score goals. 

Don't Worry, We're Too Good for Italy...

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    Brazilian manager Adhemar Pimenta rested Leônidas for the 1938 World Cup semifinals against Italy, who were the reigning world champions, and Brazil were knocked out.

    So the question has to be asked: Why on earth was Leônidas, the top scorer, rested? 

A Team of Clowns Who Shocked the World

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    In the 1966 FIFA World Cup, Edmondo Fabbri Fabbri sent his assistant Ferruccio Valcareggi to scout the North Koreans, who came back with the conclusion that the North Koreans were "Una squadra di Ridolini (a team of clowns)."

    Pak Seung-Zin was so overjoyed that he winded himself when he charged into the Italian net.  

Diego Maradona Shaming Himself to Get Back at Julio Grondona

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    Diego Maradona is a magnet for feuds, and one of his feuds is with Julio Grondona, the long-serving president of the Argentine Football Association.

    Here is Maradona shaming himself to make Grondona look shameful:

    "What happened is that to play against Australia we were given a speedy coffee. They put something in the coffee and that's why we ran more. They give you 10 anti-doping controls and only the match that decides whether Argentina will go to the United States or not, there is no anti-doping control. That's the cheat and Grondona knew about it."

    Maradona may not understand, but later down the track, football researchers will judge him for those comments, which have now proven that he willingly took performing-enhancing drugs. 

Leaving Stanley Matthews out on the Miracle on Grass

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    The U.S. were 500/1 underdogs to win the FIFA World Cup.

    In fact, when the English media got hold of the 1-0 scoreline in favour of the U.S., they assumed it was typo for 11-0 in favour of the English.

    A bunch of semi-pros and amateurs somehow beat the mighty English.  

    In the video, I love Harry Keough saying that he went into the game hoping to only...yes only by four or five goals. 

    Look, this could have been avoided if Stanley Matthews played. 

Looks Can Be Deceiving

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    Referee Robert Hoyzer looked more like a professional footballer than a referee. In fact, all professional referees should have his physique. 

    You look at him and you don't think he would fix matches as a referee. 

    Matches that could have cost some footballers their livelihoods. 

    Rightfully, he was banned for life.

Marseille Being Tainted

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    Who is that goalkeeper? Yes, that's Fabien Barthez, with hair. 

    That Marseille was impressive. 

    Look at some of the players in the team photo: Abedi Pele, Alen Bokšić, Basile Boli, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and Rudi Völler. 

    What a team.

    Unfortunately, the actions of the Marseille board and specifically player Jean-Jacques Eydelie, who is second from the bottom right, have tainted that great team.

    Eydelie went around on behalf of Marseille bribing teams to lose. 

    Talk about the arrogance of thinking we're too big to be stopped. 

Rivaldo's Misjudgment

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    I think overnight Rivaldo's popularity was cut in half. 

    Such a low act for such a classy footballer. 

Harald Schumacher's Thug Act

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    How did referee Charles Corver not award a free kick in favour of France let alone not red card Harald Schumacher. 

    I guess Schumacher deserves it, but for a goalkeeper who was the unsung hero during Germany's 1986 FIFA World Cup run, he is only remembered for this thuggish assault on a defenceless Patrick Battiston. 

Roberto Rojas' Royal Cheating Ways

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    Roberto Rojas literally took one for the team. 

    In order to get Brazil penalised, the Chilean goalkeeper cut himself when flares were thrown, as if to say the flares hit me and look what the Brazilian crowd did. 

    I guess he forgot about televisions. Might have worked in the 1920s but not in 1989. 

    Rojas was banned for life and then pardoned in 2001. 

Battle of Santiago

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    In between the fists and the kung-fu kicks, there were two goals. 

    The Battle of Santiago received some coverage after the Battle of Nuremberg.

    Santiago was more vicious, more dangerous and more personal. 

    So you might be wondering what sparked this?

    Two Italian journalists called Antonio Ghirelli and Corrado Pizzinelli, who had written inflammatory articles about the Chilean people.

    Journalists who looked Italian who were beaten up, and Ghirelli and Pizzinelli were forced to escape the country because their lives were at threat.

Tom Henning Øvrebø's Disastrous

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    Referee Tom Henning Øvrebø is an example to all referees of how not to officiate. 

    He lost control, he lost respect and he made error after error after error.

    Him sending off Éric Abidal was like balancing out the penalties he had turned down for Chelsea. 

    The sad part is Abidal missed a UEFA Champions League final and Chelsea were robbed off a finals appearance after working so hard against Barcelona. 

Zinedine Zidane Going Pazzo

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    When it got to penalty shoots out, karma prevailed, and Zinedine Zidane would have converted his penalty.

    Instead Italy won on penalties. 

    It's not the first time I've seen Zidane lose it. 

    People should cite his red card in the 1998 FIFA World Cup when he stomped on Fuad Anwar. 

Thierry Henry's Hand of Frog

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    The way to get a nation to hate you: cheat them out of the FIFA World Cup. 

Calciopoli a Disgrace to Italy

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    About time...just today, Luciano Moggi, the former disgraced Juventus chairman has been jailed for five years and four months in his attempts to fix matches.

    The Calciopoli ruined what was a strong Juventus side and it debilitated the Serie A. 

FIFA Not Having Goal Line Technology

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    It's unbelievable that football is so behind other sports that have embraced technology to make the sport better. 

    One thing that ticks people off in football is the referees making the wrong call. 

    Technology isn't meant to humiliate referees; it's meant to help them make the right call. 

    In the most important tournament in football, Frank Lampard was denied a legitimate goal because goal-line technology wasn't available. 

    Five years later, and it's still the same story. 

FIFA's Refusal to Stamp out Diving

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    FIFA banned snoods pretty quickly and they've practically eradicated taking your jersey off as a way of celebrating.

    However, they refuse to stamp out diving. 

    Ban players for three games for bringing the game into disrepute. Simple. No one would dive. 

Mohammed Bin Hammam Losing at the Game He Played so Well

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    Let's start with a leaked email from FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke:

    "For MBH [Mohamed bin Hammam], I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Joseph Sepp Blatter]. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they [Qatar] bought the WC."

    So Hammam got down and dirty to rise up the ranks. Why would he bite the hand that fed him? 

    I'm going to assume arrogance. He thought he could bypass the system anyways.

    Instead, Blatter screwed him over big time. 

    Bin Hammam is banned from all FIFA activities for life. 

    Blatter promoted Zhang Jilong as the acting President of Asian Football Confederation. 

    Having the Chinese on his side is a great move, just like awarding Qatar the FIFA World Cup and then banning bin Hammam, a Qatari, who pushed the Qatari bid from day one. 

Andrés Escobar: A Matter of Life and Death

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    Entering the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the Colombians were favourites having upstaged Argentina 5-0 during the qualifiers. 

    Though sadly Andrés Escobar's goal encapsulated the failed campaign. 

    He paid his life for it as he was shot dead. Everytime his murderers shot a bullet, they sadistically shouted "GOL!!!!"

    Only Humberto Castro Muñoz was charged, yet he has been a freeman since 2005. 

    Sad, isn't it? 

Governing Bodies Not Taking the Initiative with Stadiums

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    Throughout football history, the state of stadiums and how it should be managed has always been an issue, constantly ignored by governing bodies until lives are lost. 

    For example, during the Heysel stadium disaster, Kenny Daglish recounted:

    "Liverpool made it public that they were concerned about the condition of the stadium, but UEFA said they must continue, so the ill-fated final went ahead and unfortunately everybody knows the consequences. Liverpool were so concerned that they put up information booths outside the ground in an attempt to keep our fans out of the unsegregated area. Liverpool did that, not UEFA. It angers me that Liverpool did all the warning, Liverpool made every effort to prevent trouble and when the worst happened Liverpool received all the blame."

    The Hillsborough disaster showed how inept management can cause a disaster. 

    Then you have the Lima National Stadium tragedy, which saw policemen being a main factor as to why 318 people lost their lives watching a football game. 

    Please watch Lionel Messi's Top 20 Barcelona Goals (VIDEO).


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