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Europe's ultimate footballing families

Published: Tuesday 7 January 2014, 9.35CET
The Charltons in England, the Arveladzes in Georgia, and three generations of Vladimír Weisses in Slovakia: UEFA.com celebrates the continent's greatest footballing dynasties.
Europe's ultimate footballing families
Jackie and Bobby Charlton celebrate England's 1966 FIFA World Cup victory with their mother Cissie ©Getty Images

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Published: Tuesday 7 January 2014, 9.35CET

Europe's ultimate footballing families

The Charltons in England, the Arveladzes in Georgia, and three generations of Vladimír Weisses in Slovakia: UEFA.com celebrates the continent's greatest footballing dynasties.

UEFA.com conducts a whistle-stop tour of the continent to discover the first families of European football.

Albania: the Memas
In the 1960s and 1970s, three Mema brothers – Haxhi, Ali and Osman – were at KF Tirana as players or coaches, and that passion for football spread to another generation. During his successful spell as Tirana coach, Ali Mema's teams included his nephew, Haxhi's son Sulejman, who in turn went on to coach a Tirana side featuring Ali's son Ardian. Tirana are in the family's blood – though Osman briefly played for rivals KF Partizani Tirana while doing his military service. Sulejman thus had a hard time when he was briefly Partizani coach. "I had my whole family against me," he recalled. "My uncles, my nephews, everybody – including my own two daughters."

Armenia: the Mkhitaryans
Hamlet Mkhitaryan made his name as a striker with local side FC Ararat, becoming the second-highest scorer in the 1984 Soviet Top League, but while he died aged 33 of a brain tumour, his children by his wife Marina Tashchyan – now head of the Football Federation of Armenia (HFF) national teams department – have kept up the family tradition: son Henrikh won four titles with FC Pyunik, three more at FC Shakhtar Donetsk, and now plays for Borussia Dortmund; daughter Monika works in the office of the UEFA President Michel Platini. "Our family started out in football and we continue to live for football," said Tashchyan. "It's not just a game for us but a way of life."

Azerbaijan: the Javadovs
Now a member of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) executive committee, Isgandar Javadov captained Neftçi PFK in the 1980s, with older brother Fizuli among his team-mates. Now Fizuli's son, İnter Bakı PİK forward Vagif, has taken up the family trade, with the PFC CSKA Moskva academy graduate and one-time FC Twente player now an established Azerbaijani international at 24. "Vagif has tremendous potential," said Isgandar, who has another nephew, Ilgar Gurbanov, who plays for Qarabağ FK. "He's talented and plays a big part in the national team. I think he's still capable of achieving bigger things."

Belarus: the Savostikovs
Football passed down the male line in the Savostikov household. Father Ivan was a defender in the FC Dinamo Minsk side that finished third in the Soviet Top League in 1963 and two years later reached the Soviet Cup final. An Olympic international, Ivan went into coaching, leading Dinamo to the 1987 cup final and later lifting a Belarusian Cup with FC Belshina Bobruisk. All this time his son Kirill was watching and learning. "In most of his childhood photos he's with the ball, that was his favorite toy," remembered Ivan. Kirill became a major player with FC BATE Borisov among others. "My dad took me everywhere, then gave me the ball so I would not bother him. I didn't need anything else."

Belgium: The Hazards
Brothers Eden and Thorgan Hazard are now both on the books at Chelsea FC, with two younger siblings – Kylian and Ethan – hoping to follow them into the family business. Their father Thierry was a semi-professional defensive midfielder with RAA Louviéroise in the 1990s, but mother Carine – a sports teacher and attacking midfielder – may have been the bigger influence on her sons. She only gave up playing when three months pregnant with Eden. "I was scoring goals while he was inside me," she said, while Thierry added: "My wife is the most enthusiastic one, but never pushed the kids to play football."

©Meridian Match

Bulgaria: the Mihaylovs
There are three generations of goalkeeping Mihaylovs – Biser, Borislav and now Nikolay. Biser won four Bulgarian championships and three national cups with PFC Levski Sofia, the club where his oldest son Borislav made his senior breakthrough in 1981, aged 18. Now president of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFS), 'Bobby' landed three titles and starred for Bulgaria at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. Borislav's brother Ruslan is a goalkeeping coach at Levski, while son Nikolay is himself a Bulgarian international having come through the Levski ranks. After a successful stint at Twente, Nikolay, the 2011 Bulgarian player of the year, is currently in Italy with Hellas Verona FC.

Croatia: the Gabrićes
Goalkeeper Tonči Gabrić was one of the stalwarts of the HNK Hajduk Split side that reached the quarter-finals of the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League and a member of the Croatia squad that travelled to EURO '96. His children both took up professional football too. Midfielder Drago emerged through the Hajduk youth system and represented Croatia at Under-21 level only for a serious car accident – which left him in a coma for four days – to interrupt his career in 2011, though he is now back playing in Slovenia. His twin sister Paškvalina, meanwhile, was also a top women's international for a while, making her senior debut aged 16.

Czech Republic: the Veselýs
Four generations of Veselýs have represented SK Slavia Praha. František turned out for the club in the 1950s and his son – also František – was a striking ace in the 1960s and 1970s, competing at the 1970 World Cup and winning the 1976 UEFA European Championship with Czechoslovakia. His son, a third František Veselý, wore the red-and-white jersey in the 1980s and 1990s and now his boys, Daniel and Lukáš, have entered the family firm. ''I know the fans expect a lot from me because I have a very famous name and I am ready to work hard,'' said Daniel after taking his senior bow in 2012.

Denmark: the Laudrups
Attacking midfielder Finn Laudrup made the last of his 19 international appearances for Denmark in 1979, yet within three years the family name would be back in the red-and-white reckoning, when son Michael made his debut – to be followed by his brother Brian a few years later. Brian featured in the Denmark team that won EURO '92, but Michael – now Swansea City AFC manager – had the greater reputation, lifting the 1991/92 European Champion Clubs' Cup with FC Barcelona and being named Denmark's greatest-ever footballer in 2006. His own sons, Mads and Andreas, are playing too, for Helsingør FC and FC Nordsjælland respectively.

England: the Milburns/Charltons
'Wor Jackie' Milburn enjoyed a stellar career with Newcastle United FC and England in the 1940s and 1950s, but while four of his cousins also played professionally, their sister Cissie (whose love of football in less enlightened times led her to ''curse a thousand times over that I was born a lass'') took the family profession to a new generation. Her sons Jack and Bobby Charlton shone as England landed the 1966 World Cup; Jack also collected a league title with Leeds United AFC and achieved further success as manager of the Republic of Ireland, while Sir Bobby was a 1968 European Cup and three-time English championship winner at Manchester United FC.

Estonia: the Klavans
Two generations of Klavan have represented Estonia at international level. Midfielder Dzintar Klavan made the first of his 19 appearances as a 31-year-old in February 1993, and his son – defender Ragnar – followed him into the game, starting with two of his father's old clubs, FC Flora Tallinn and JK Tulevik Viljandi. A Dutch Eredivisie winner with AZ Alkmaar in 2009, the 28-year-old is now Estonia captain and plays for FC Augsburg in Germany. He hopes son Romer will continue the dynasty. ''I am going to raise him like my dad did me,'' he said. ''I will guide, but not force, him. First we need to see if he is left or right-footed.''

The Faroe Islands: the Klaksteins
Odmar Færø, his son Odmar Færø and his grandson Odmar Færø all represented the Faroe Islands at international level, but the Klaksteins may be an even more remarkable footballing family. KÍ Klaksvík team-mates Bára Skaale Klakstein and her daughter Eydvør became the first parent-offspring combination to play an international game together as the Faroe Islands beat Luxembourg 6-0 in November 2012. ''This is absolutely fantastic,'' said Eydvør, then 18. ''I had never believed this would be possible,'' smiled her proud mother, whose husband Eydun and son Hedin have also lined up together for KÍ's men's team.

Finland: the Litmanens
A Finnish title winner with FC Reipas in 1970, Olavi Litmanen won five Finnish Cups during his career and was capped five times, but he and his wife Liisa – who also played for Reipas in the pioneer days of the women's game – were to be eclipsed in footballing terms by their son Jari. Capped a record 137 times, Jari was the first Finn to win the UEFA Champions League – with AFC Ajax in 1994/95 – though it took until the twilight years of his playing career to take his only Finnish crown, with HJK Helsinki in 2011. His children are still little, but are playing for fun in Estonia with JK Nõmme Kalju.

France: the Djorkaeffs
Born in France to a Kalmyk-Polish father and an Armenian mother, Jean Djorkaeff was a defensive marshal for Olympique Lyonnais, Olympique de Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain and Paris FC from the 1950s to the 1970s, playing at the 1966 World Cup during a 48-game international career. His son Youri was to win that trophy on home soil with Les Bleus 32 years later, two years before helping France make it a double with victory at UEFA EURO 2000. The onus is now on 16-year-old Oan – Youri's son and Jean's grandson, currently playing in the AS Saint-Étienne academy system – to do better.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: the Babunskis
Ex-Yugoslavia and FYROM defender Boban Babunski had a fine playing career, travelling the world as a central defender with the likes of PFC CSKA Sofia, UE Lleida and AEK Athens FC. His sons, David and Dorian, have taken something of a divide and conquer approach: David is in Barcelona's youth academy while Dorian is coming through the ranks with their arch-rivals Real Madrid CF. Excitingly, the family was reunited when FYROM U21 coach Boban called up both his sons. ''A few years ago, football was the reason we were apart as a family, but now it's the reason we're together again and that's made us very happy,'' said David.

Georgia: the Arveladzes
''The fact all three of us played for Georgia's most successful club [FC Dinamo Tbilisi] and then for the national team makes me proud,'' said Revaz Arveladze as he reflected on his family's footballing achievements. The oldest of three footballing brothers, Revaz was the first Georgian to score in the Bundesliga during a spell at 1. FC Köln and is now general secretary of the Georgian Football Federation (SFF). His twin brothers Archil and Shota did well too: Archil was a star player for Trabzonspor AŞ and NAC Breda, while Shota won titles with Dinamo, Ajax and Rangers FC, scored a record 28 games for Georgia, and is a successful coach in Turkey with Kasimpaşa SK.

Germany: the Boatengs
Ghanaian international Robert Boateng used to play for Rosenborg BK; his older brother George lost his way after impressing in Hertha BSC Berlin's youth team, while another sibling, Prince, played in the third division for Füchse Berlin Reinickendorf. Prince had footballing sons by two different partners. Now at FC Schalke 04, midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has football on both sides of his family line – his maternal grandfather's cousin was Helmut Rahn, who scored Germany's winner in the 1954 World Cup final. His half-brother and one-time Hertha team-mate Jérôme is a more reserved character and plays in defence for FC Bayern München and Germany.

Greece: the Kapsises
Born in September 1950, sweeper Anthimos Kapsis spent his entire 15-year career at Panathinaikos FC, figuring in the side that got as far as the 1970/71 European Cup final, and captaining Greece at their first major final tournament – the 1980 UEFA European Championship. His son, central defender Michalis, enjoyed a less stable club career – his longest spells were at Ethnikos Piraeus FC (1993–98) and AEK Athens (1999–2004). However, he ended up with 36 caps (one more than his father) and crucially was a key member of Otto Rehhagel's team as they won UEFA EURO 2004 in Portugal.

Hungary: the Sallóis
Jenő Sallói and his two brothers played in Hungary's lower leagues, while his son István operated in the top division at Tatabánya FC and got as far as the national B team. That was evidently a disappointment. ''My father told me he would break my legs to prevent me from playing, because he wasn't so good and his career wasn't so great, meaning he did not enjoy it,'' said István's son, also named István, who took one step further than his old man, scoring on his international debut in 1992. ''But I did everything to play football.'' The younger István, a striker, was feted in Hungary and lifted two Israeli titles at Beitar Jerusalem FC before moving into coaching.

Iceland: the Gudjohnsens
A historic first nearly came about in 1996 when Arnór Gudjohnsen and his son Eidur were named in an Iceland squad to take on Estonia, but Arnór ended up being substituted for his boy. ''It remains my biggest regret that we did not get to play together, and I know it is Eidur's too,'' said Arnór, who earned 73 caps and enjoyed his best years in Belgium at KSC Lokeren OV and RSC Anderlecht. Eidur retired this year with 78 caps, having shone for Barcelona and Chelsea FC, and another generation of footballing Gudjohnsens could be to come. ''The grandsons are still young but they're interested in football – after all, they look just like grandpa,'' smiled Arnór.

Italy: the Maldinis
Cesare Maldini picked up the 1962/63 European Cup with AC Milan in 1962/63, and Paolo got his hands on 'Old Big Ears' five times with the same club – in 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007. Such was Paolo's impact in his mammoth 24-year career with Milan that his No3 shirt was retired when he hung up his boots in 2009. However, there remains the possibility that another Maldini may revive it, with Paolo's two sons now in the Rossoneri youth ranks. ''I just hope he is having fun and not forgetting his studies,'' said 'nonno Cesare' after 17-year-old Christian trained with the first team.

Kazakhstan: the Lorias
Forward Otari Loria started out playing for local sides in Gudauta, Abkhazia, in the early 1950s, moving on to represent FC SKA Odesa before moving to the then Kazakh Soviet Republic to represent FC Dinamo Tselinograd. His son Grigori followed in his father's footsteps in the same city – now known as Astana – as a striker in the 1970s and 1980s, and Otari's grandson David Loria continued the tradition with a twist. ''My father and grandfather were forwards, but my destiny was to be a goalkeeper – it's in my blood,'' said David Loria, now capped 38 times by Kazakhstan. ''My elder brother influenced me. He made me play in goal when we played in the yard as kids.''

Latvia: the Verpakovskises
The most celebrated goalscorer in Latvian football history, Māris Verpakovskis has registered 29 times in just over 100 international appearances, with his goals including Latvia's only strike at UEFA EURO 2004 – their only major final tournament to date. However, he shares a profession as well as a birthday – 15 October – with his father Ilmārs, who played in Latvia's first game after the nation regained independence in 1992. ''He has always set me an example,'' Māris, 21 years his father's junior at 34, told UEFA.com. ''I wouldn't be who I am now without his guidance.''

Lithuania: the Paberžises
As a national team player then coach, Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) general secretary and football writer Stanislovas Paberžis dedicated seven decades to the game, from his debut in 1936 to his death in 2012. His son Gediminas continued the good work, playing for the Lithuanian national side and the nation's most successful club, FK Žalgiris, before embarking on a long coaching career. A new chapter is opened in the family's symbiotic association with Lithuanian football when Gediminas Paberžis Jr earned his first caps for Lithuania at youth level in the 2010s.

Malta: the Schembris
Well-travelled forward André Schembri etched his name into national footballing history by scoring both of Malta's goals in a 2-1 UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying win against Hungary, with the AC Omonia man the third Schembri to represent his country. André's father Eric represented Malta in the 1970s, while grandfather Salvinu – who died in December 2008 aged 85 – skippered the national team in their first international against Austria on 27 May 1957, defying his coach's instructions to sit back with his side 1-0 down at the break. He told UEFA.com: ''I told him there was nothing to lose and we would attack. The final result? We scored two goals but lost 3-2.''

Moldova: the Cebanus
The Cebanu family now has two No1s in Moldova: Ilie Cebanu plays in goal for the national team, while his father Pavel is the top man at the Football Association of Moldova (FMF). Now 58, Pavel was named Moldova's golden player as part of UEFA's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2004, having scored 45 goals in 341 Soviet league games as a midfielder at FC Zimbru Chisinau. His son Ilie also came through the ranks at Zimbru, but went on to play in Austria and Poland, and is now on loan in Russia at FC Tom Tomsk. He made his senior Moldova debut in a 3-0 win against San Marino on 11 October 2013.

Netherlands: the Koemans
Capped just once by the Netherlands, in 1964, Martin Koeman remains a club icon at FC Groningen, having played over 300 games for the club and its predecessor GVAV before moving on to the club's coaching department, where he set up the youth academy. His sons Erwin and Ronald both emerged through the Groningen system and went on to greater things: Erwin played for PSV Eindhoven and won the 1987/88 European Cup Winners' Cup with KV Mechelen; Ronald lifted the 1988 and 1992 European Cups with PSV and Barcelona respectively. The brothers also won the 1988 UEFA European Championship together with the Netherlands.

Northern Ireland: the Blanchflowers
Danny Blanchflower captained Tottenham Hotspur FC to an English double in 1960/61 and managed his national team from 1976–78, but while the prodigiously gifted midfielder captained Northern Ireland at the 1958 World Cup, his younger brother was a notable absentee. Jackie Blanchflower, five years Danny's junior, had shone as a centre-half at Manchester United, but aged 24 sustained life-changing injuries (eight broken ribs, two pelvic fractures and kidney damage) in the Munich air disaster in February 1958. ''Jackie would have played alongside Danny at the 1958 World Cup had it not been for Munich,'' said Northern Ireland team-mate Billy Bingham.

Norway: the Bergs
Attacking midfielder Harald 'Dutte' Berg won a league title and three cups in his playing career with Bodø/Glimt, ADO Den Haag and SFK Lyn, with his three sons also following him into the game. Ørjan was a midfield mainstay at Rosenborg, collecting eight Norwegian championships and three Norwegian Cups, and venturing abroad with FC Wettingen, FC Basel 1893 and TSV 1860 München. Runar's Rosenborg haul included four league titles and three cups, while he played in Italy at AC Venezia. Arild never went further than Bodø/Glimt because of an eye condition that forced him to wear glasses for some games.

Republic of Ireland: the Hendersons
West Ham United FC's Stephen Henderson is now the fifth goalkeeper in his family. Paddy Henderson began the family’s story when he took up playing in goal in the 1960s, lifting an Irish Cup with Shamrock Rovers FC in 1961/62. His three sons – David, Stephen and Wayne – all played professionally, all as goalkeepers. David and Stephen spent the majority of their careers in Ireland's domestic league, while Wayne went to England and was capped six times before he was forced to retire, aged 29, with a back injury. ''I wouldn't think there are a lot of families who have that many goalkeepers, but it's great to be part of that tradition,” said Stephen Jr.

Romania: the Lucescus
First players and now coaches, Mircea and Răzvan Lucescu are big names in Romanian football, though both have moved abroad to pursue their ambitions. A winger for FC Dinamo Bucureşti and FC Corvinul Hunedoara, Mircea led Romania to the 1984 UEFA European Championship as coach, going on to claim titles in Romania, Turkey and Ukraine, where he continues to rule the roost at FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Goalkeeping son Răzvan proceeded, like his father, to coach Romania, but is now in Qatar with El Jaish. ''He has found his peace there,'' said Mircea, who added: ''Răzvan has all the necessary skills to succeed in this profession, but it is going to be very tough.''

Russia: the Starostins
Four Starostin brothers featured for FC Spartak Moskva in the 1930s – striker and Soviet Union captain Nikolai, right-back Aleksandr and midfielders Andrei and Petr. Nikolai was a prime mover in the club's foundation and is believed to have named Spartak, in honour of Roman rebel Spartacus. All four brothers fell foul of the Stalinist purges, spending time in labour camps, but returned to the game on release, Nikolai as Spartak president and Andrei as head of the national team in the 1960s. ''You have to love Spartak in yourself, not yourself in Spartak,'' said Nikolai – a quote which remains a guiding principle at the nation's most popular club.

San Marino: the Simoncinis
Football dynasties have yet to be established in San Marino, but the Simoncini twins have made a unique contribution to footballing history – though not one they may care to remember. Both goalkeeper Aldo and defender Davide were credited with own goals in the same game, a 6-0 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying defeat by Sweden in September 2010. Nonetheless, the brothers remain committed to improving. ''Our challenge is to improve in each game and to learn with each hard defeat – this is how our life has been in football,'' Aldo said recently.

Scotland: the Shanklys
''When we were all at our peaks, we could have beaten any five brothers in the world,” said legendary Ayrshire-born Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly. Bill won the FA Cup with Preston North End FC in 1938; Alec played for Ayr United FC and Clyde FC; Jimmy turned out for Sheffield United FC and Southend United FC; while John played for Portsmouth FC and Luton Town FC. After a playing career at clubs like Alloa Athletic FC and Falkirk FC, Bob Shankly guided Dundee FC to the Scottish title in 1962 and the semi-finals of the European Cup the following year. The brothers' maternal uncles Robert and William Blyth were also professionals.

Slovakia: the Weisses
Three generations of Vladimír Weisses have now become international footballers. AŠK Inter Bratislava central defender Vladimír Weiss represented Czechoslovakia at the 1964 Olympics; his son of the same name, a midfielder, also started out at Inter and played for Czechoslovakia and Slovakia, whom he led to the 2010 World Cup as coach. He also reached the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage as boss of FC Artmedia Bratislava. His son, another Vladimír, took his first steps at Inter, but completed his footballing education at Manchester City FC. The Olympiacos FC midfielder now has 32 caps – one more than his dad.

Spain: the Busquetses and the Sanchíses
Two Spanish families include fathers and sons who have both won the top prize in European club football. Goalkeeper Carles Busquets was on the bench as Barcelona lifted the 1991/92 European Cup and has watched his defensively minded son Sergio win the UEFA Champions League twice along with the 2010 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2012. ''As a goalkeeper I was quite calm, but now looking at my son play I am always on edge,'' Busquets Sr admitted. Meanwhile, defender Manuel Sanchís Martínez was a 1965/66 European Cup winner with Real Madrid, while his son Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo got his hands on that trophy with Madrid in 1998 and 2000. ''When my dad had won a European Cup and I hadn't, I couldn't talk much at home,'' the younger Sanchís joked. ''When I won my first, things were better, and after I went ahead of him it was always a case of us having won it a combined three times.''

Sweden: the Anderssons
Sweden's 1977 player of the year, Roy Andersson started his career at Malmö FF in the days before football in Sweden became professional, but managed to play in the 1978 World Cup finals and in Malmö's run to the 1979 European Cup final before retiring in 1983. ''When I started at MFF, I was still in school,'' he said. ''After that, I had a full-time job at the cement plant.'' Both of Roy's sons would go on to captain Malmö: Patrik was Sweden's player of the year twice (1995 and 2001) and won the UEFA Champions League with Bayern München in 2001; Daniel played in Serie A and at the 2006 World Cup, UEFA EURO 2000 and UEFA EURO 2008.

Turkey: the Yılmazes
Striker Burak Yılmaz has become well known for his UEFA Champions League goalscoring at Galatasaray AŞ, but fans in Turkey know that his father is a major figure too. A goalkeeper for Beşiktaş JK and Antalyaspor, Fikret Yılmaz later became a coach and goalkeeping specialist. ''Burak was born when I was playing for Antalyaspor, and he turned professional at this club at the age of 17,'' remembers the proud father. ''Footballing talent is a gift from God. If you have it, you can be a player. Burak has that and he has combined it with ambition to be a top player.''

Ukraine: the Chanovs
The late Viktor Chanov played over 200 league games for CSKA Moskva and Shakhtar Donetsk – winning the league and the Soviet Cup twice – and handed on the goalkeeping gene to his two sons. Vyacheslav started out at Shakhtar and played for FC Torpedo Moskva and the USSR, specialising as a goalkeeping coach after retiring – with Russia No1 Igor Akinfeev among his CSKA protégés. Another Shakhtar graduate, younger brother Viktor landed three titles, five cups and the 1986 Cup Winners' Cup at Dynamo Kyiv, as well as a silver medal at the 1988 UEFA European Championship. Both brothers were USSR goalkeepers of the year: Vyacheslav in 1981, Viktor in 1986.

Wales: the Kendalls
Cwmbran Town FC's September 2000 Welsh Premier League win against Barry Town FC was an unusually stressful occasion in the Kendall household, with one-time Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Mark Kendall – then 42 – keeping a clean sheet in his only appearance for the club after being tempted out of retirement by Cwmbran manager Tony Wilcox. At the other end, Kendall's 19-year-old son Lee was not so lucky, conceding three times. Mark Kendall, unfortunately, died in 2008, aged just 49, while Lee enjoyed a long career in Welsh football and is now a goalkeeping coach over the English border at Bristol City FC.

Last updated: 07/02/14 11.04CET

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