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FM21 - Athletic Club: Los Leones Roaring Back


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Found a Dutch goalkeeper who is half-Basque
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He is the son of ex-Livepool's GK Sander, he was born in San Sebastian making him another option in case you need a young GK.

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Just done my first season with Bilbao


Munian and Capa both had big injuries

Finished 5th in the league

 

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Finished the first season doing the double

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Villalibre was amazing and Unali Simon is one of the best goalkeepers used in FM. I failed to make good use of Inaki although he looks like the best player of the team.

Now i am going to assess team and player stats, i must find a couple of players for the next season since we have UCL.

Here are the team stats for LaLiga:
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Although i had one of the best defensive lines i tried in FMs my players failed to win headers, usually FM is punishing you if you are not winning headers.

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What a crazy almost sick season in Bilbao. We ended up as second in the league as Real were totally dominant, but ask who gave them their only loss in the league :D! We lost the Spanish Supercup to Real. but beat them in the cupfinal and in the quarterfinals of the Champions League :applause:

I must say winning the Champions League shocks me cause had no chance in my mind against Liverpool, but been really good season. Inaki topscorer with 24 goals and loanie Odriozola got 15 assists so we bought him! Now next season lets win the spanish league :D

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Well another great season in Athletic with a great second place and a cupwin against Real Madrid. Sociedad got a huge beaten with 8-0, but in the league Barcelona this time were too good for us. Nico Serrano had a really good season as well as Imanol at left back, so I think the future looks good :)

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Bit off topic, but I'm into 27/28 season now (I'll do a bit of a bulk update at the end of this season as I've not posted any updates for a little while) and wanted to mention the season that Fabio Silva is having up front for Real Madrid.

We just played them in late January and he notched his 60th, yes, 60th, goal of the season in all competitions, 29 in the league with 22 games gone...and Real Madrid are 7th. Will see how many he has come the end

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Never done a save in Spain. I like youth saves, I'm guessing this is the ultimate youth save.

Just a quick question, sorry if it's a silly one. Do you control the "B" and "C" team or does the AI manager control them and decide who to sell/buy etc?

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2 hours ago, Scott_Gooner said:

Never done a save in Spain. I like youth saves, I'm guessing this is the ultimate youth save.

Just a quick question, sorry if it's a silly one. Do you control the "B" and "C" team or does the AI manager control them and decide who to sell/buy etc?

You can control quite a bit of it, you can set responsibilities so the ai staff have no ability to do transfers. They’re basically more like a reserve side

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BUMPER UPDATE

 

Big update today as I've been playing a lot over the holidays but not posted :)

Honours:

2024/25 - Supercopa and Copa Del Rey winners, 2nd in La Liga
2025/26 - Supercopa, 2nd in la Liga, Copa Del Rey runners up
2026/27 - La Liga and Copa Del Rey winners
2027/28 - La Liga winners

Following cup success and in 24/25 and 25/26, but back to back runners up in La Liga, we finally regained La Liga in 2026/27, and followed it up with another league success in 27/28, setting out best points total thus far with 94 - our best season so far, albeit the other competitions didn't go our way. Sadly Champions League success continues to elude us, consistently going out in unfortunate circumstances - this season we lost in the first knockout round against Man Utd (defending Champions), despite battering them on xG in the second leg, they were just too clinical. I really want us to have a better run here as for a few seasons, either not being clinical enough and losing against the run of play, or just being beaten by a better team, we've not yet made in past the quarter finals. 

Squad (4-3-3):

GK - Simon, Fernandez, Inaki Telletxea
RB - Arrue, Mikel Telletxea
LB - Goni, Galan
CB - Barasoain, Nunez, Casado, Gabilondo, Josu Telletxea (replacing Nunez soon)
DM - Elustondo, Zabala
CM - Sancet, Aizpurua
CM - Oroz, Palacios
RW - Artola, Navarro
LW - Pena, Alkorta
CF - Serrano, Arrizabalaga

Transfer List - Igoroin, one of my top prospects just didn't quite come on as hoped. He's still good but doesn't have as much of an impact as other options so he's the one that drops out here. I also sold prospect Inigo Sesma for 32million to Atletico - another very good player but I preferred Zabala to be my back up DM, as I want someone in that role who is a better ball player. Sesma was a better destroyer but didn't have the abilities to play the ball out from the back in the same way. I'm going to need to find room in my midfield soon for some of these prospects I have coming through. I am incorporating Palacios and Aizpurua for next season who were previously B team/loanees.

Tactically we are playing an aggressive 4-3-3, focusing on exploiting our high work rate, aggression and bravery to play a strong press. We are playing a high line/high loe in defence, with a half back operating as a shield to the two central defenders, one of which is on a cover duty to help with route one balls. We are playing attacking wing backs who push up when playing out from the back, allowing the half back to slot between the defenders and give us a 3-4-3 in the early attacking phases. After that, we have one central midfielder who holds on the edge of the box/outside the box, two wide forwards both on support duties, with the use of overlap instructions pushing them inside. Our second central midfielder has a little more license to get into the box to support our CF (S) and he is a big source of goals. The idea is to have one central midfield and the half back providing an offset double pivot when we are in the latter attacking stages, wing backs creating width and staying wider, with one central midfielder who can pass/create sitting behind a front 3, one in the middle and the other two in the channels, alongside a second CM who makes late runs to fill any spaces that pop up. Probably more similar to Klopp's Liverpool than anyone else.

Top Prospects, My Academy:
Xabier Iribar
Ion Santamaria
Alfonso Fernandez
Raul Goni
Alberto Munoz
Josean Ibanez

Top Prospects, New Arrivals:
Xabier Arana (Osasuna)

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Inaki Ochoa (Osasuna) - This guy is probably one of the best 15/16 year olds I've ever seen, when he came into Osasuna on newgen day, he looked like this at 15 years old. I've paid over 20million.

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Edited by bowieinspace
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I know this question is a little bit off because I'm still doing this challenge on fm20. But i was wondering if you guys have seen any French Basque players on fm 20 or fm 21? I have seen some French youth players at Sociedad but they don't have the Basque nationality, is it something that comes with a certain amount of time at the club?

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5 hours ago, MH00 said:

I know this question is a little bit off because I'm still doing this challenge on fm20. But i was wondering if you guys have seen any French Basque players on fm 20 or fm 21? I have seen some French youth players at Sociedad but they don't have the Basque nationality, is it something that comes with a certain amount of time at the club?

I think I've seen more French Basques in three seasons or so of FM21 than I've ever seen in the game. I've got 3-4 in my youth teams, a couple home grown, others bought from the other Basque teams. 

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57 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

I think I've seen more French Basques in three seasons or so of FM21 than I've ever seen in the game. I've got 3-4 in my youth teams, a couple home grown, others bought from the other Basque teams. 

Ah okay, shame i don't seem to get them

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Finished my fifth season and finally we won the Spanish League Title after a amazing season with this amazing club. And thanks to Mikel Oyarzabal what a season he had - absolut worldclass player :D Look at those stats :applause:bilbao25.png.5777dff83eb014c0e038f5edf25f90f5.png

Our second Champions League final and against that PSG - but we did it :lol: Maybe a little bit lucky but we needed and playing Cordoba as a striker were very clever I think

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Okay this is a first for me I must say! "Figo-ball" I like that by the way :D

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This picture I like alot - almost on top here so gotta get Juve away from that position.

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16 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

@ernemann I may have missed this but how did you sign Oyarzabal?

He was transferlistet in Man City for almost 2 years, so I tried to get him but wasnt easy. Finally they agreed a loan and with a Clause to buy him and then I moved Quick, cause Real also tried 😀😀 With a clause at 38 mio € I moved for him 

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3 minutes ago, ernemann said:

He was transferlistet in Man City for almost 2 years, so I tried to get him but wasnt easy. Finally they agreed a loan and with a Clause to buy him and then I moved Quick, cause Real also tried 😀😀 With a clause at 38 mio € I moved for him 

Aha, I see. I don't think he's going anywhere in my game, but hopefully an EPL team signs him!

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8 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

Aha, I see. I don't think he's going anywhere in my game, but hopefully an EPL team signs him!

Same here, and he scores everytime we play them. I think you've got to be fairly fortunate to get him this year, he has to go somewhere like City and then become unhappy to have a chance

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10 hours ago, MH00 said:

I know this question is a little bit off because I'm still doing this challenge on fm20. But i was wondering if you guys have seen any French Basque players on fm 20 or fm 21? I have seen some French youth players at Sociedad but they don't have the Basque nationality, is it something that comes with a certain amount of time at the club?

I sometimes get a few in my Youth intake, but they are not very good. But maybe it Will happen one day 

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I've had a handful of good french basque newgens over the years but they aren't a regular occurrence. I had a real belter a few years ago but mostly they've been C team fodder when I've had them :)

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2 hours ago, basqueliverpool said:

have any of you tried a save with the same rules as athletic with other clubs?

Personally no. Always something I was keen to do but I don't think the regional search options are good enough without having the pays basque nationality filter, it'd be a real hassle

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Back in FM16 i made a save with Chivas, they have a rule for Mexicans only.

I think there is a Turkish team too with turkish players only rule but not sure.

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21 hours ago, dothestrand said:

Aha, I see. I don't think he's going anywhere in my game, but hopefully an EPL team signs him!

City bought him in january 2022 and then I loaned him in july 2023, so had to wait a Long time for him 

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In my sixth season and time for prizewinners and how about that!! Ballon D`or to Athletic Club :D He had an amazing season and also won FIFPRO Player of The Season and Goal50 earlier this season, so a massive season he got

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mikel2.png.80b2ccf889579b7ebd7442517b01c060.pngGoalkeeper Unai Simon won World Golden Glove but it might go some time before I get so many prizes again i think :)

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I'm playing FM since CM 01, never played in Spain before! Decided to try the Bilbao challenge and the first season was pretty fun!

Was second till February, then Barca and Real kind of woke up and started to press the table. By the end of season we got few losses and thanks to Valencia's loss at the last game we managed to get to CL next season.

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This is the tactic and the 11 that I played most of the season, must say that Raul Garcia is pretty suck! all the others did quite good. 

Will look for new youth talents, and a striker ASAP!

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Edited by Vornik
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1 hour ago, weematt7 said:

Amazing result tonight 😄

Bring on Sunday 👍

Aupa athletic 🦁

Yeah really good result! Absolutely battered really but solid throughout

Edited by bowieinspace
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2028/29 Review

 

Honours

La Liga - Runners Up to Real Madrid, finishing with 90 points
Champions League - Winners! 
Copa Del Rey - Lost in SF on penalities to Real Betis
Supercopa - Lost in SF to Real Madrid


We won the Champions League! After finishing first in our group we were extremely unfortunate to draw PSG in the first knock out round. We got a little lucky to beat them to be honest, we lost the first leg 2-1 at their place, only scoring from a screamer and generally being second best, but then turned it around with a fantastic second leg performance, 2-0, winning 3-2 on aggregate. It didn't get easier from there, drawing AC Milan in the quarter final. A 1-0 home win set us up nicely for the second leg and we perhaps should have scored more, in the second leg we were struggling - 2-0 down and to be honest very much deserved to be losing, only for Nico Serrano to pop up with a goal in the 91st minute to make it 2-1, and seeing us through on away goals. In the semi final we were up against big spenders Man City - I didn't think we would get through this one, but perhaps our best performances of the season saw us win 2-1 at the Etihad and then 3-1 at San Mames to get into the final, coming from 0-1 down in the first leg as well. 

We faced Chelsea in the final - Premier League Champions. We played extremely well and deserved the victory, taking it 3-1 in extra time. Our opening goal from jon Pena was cancelled out by Rayan Cherki (one of the best players on the game), with Sancet missing a penalty when 1-0 in front as well. We went into extra time, probably disappointed not to have won it in regulation. It was a tight extra time with tiring legs, eventually we got the goals through Izaro Arrizabalaga in the 114th minute, and substitute Gorka Zabala in the 117th minute to seal it. 

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Delighted to win it, especially with such a tough run in the knockout rounds. 

I'm exciting for next season because Real Madrid are ridiculously good and will take some beating in the league. They were immense this year scoring 96 points, and are even better for next year having signed 2 top top world class players for over 150million. I'm really happy they're so strong right now because they had dropped off a bit, but they've really gone big with the recruitment in the last two windows. Fabio Silva scored over 70 goals for them again this season as well. I prefer having such a good challenge in the league and we are not quite at their level to be honest - if we can push them in the league I'll be happy. 

Squad:

GK - Simon, Inaki Telletxea, Fernandez. 
Telletxea is turning into a world class keeper. He will be sharing minutes with Simon and I think he will replace Simon, potentially even by the end of this season if he develops well. 

RB - Arrue, Mikel Telletxea. Prospect - Ion Santamaria
Santamaria is coming on well and I see him as a key player in this position in the future alongside Arrue. This will allow me to move Mikel Telletxea to cover right wing. 

LB - Goni, Galan. Prospect - Alphonso Fernandez
Fernandez has some development to do but he will replace Galan as the back up LB in the near future, probably next summer. 

CB - Casado, Barasoain, Gabilondo, Josu Telletxea. Prospect - Jon Sanz
Unai Nunez departed at the end of his contract so a whole newgen quartet at CB next season. Casado and Barasoain will be first choices but Gabilondo a good option also following a year on loan at Villarreal. Josu Telletxea a very reliable back up.

DM - Elustondo, Zabala. Prospect - Iribar, Arana
At the moment neither Elustondo or Zabala are perfect for this role but having Elustondo there allows me to have our best 3 midfielders on the pitch together. In time, Iribar and Arana will take over this key role in our team and Elustondo will move further up to replace Sancet who is very close to 30 now. Zabala will likely have to move on due to the quality of midfielders we have coming through.

CM - Sancet, Oroz, Aizpurua, Inaki Ochoa
Sancet and Oroz are a well established partnership, but Aizpurua is very close to Sancet and is a capable replacement. Inaki Ochoa isn't quite as 'ready' as I would like, but I had a 40million offer for Palacios who had been injured for most of the season, so decided to cash in to make room for wonderkid Ochoa. 

RW - Artola, Navarro
No change here, established duo who rotate in and out...both excellent

LW - Jon Pena, Alkorta
Jon Pena is on the verge of being a world class player, wowsers. Alkorta is very solid but no where near his level. Once Mikel Telletxea gets pushed into the RW slot, then either Alkorta or Navarro will need to move on.

CF - Arrizabalaga, Serrano. Prospect - Raul Goni
Arrizabalaga and Serrano are both solid options up front but neither are world beaters. I definitely lack a world class finisher. Serrano topped the goalscoring charts this season and Arrizabalaga really underperformed to be honest, but his movement and overall play is really impressive especially against bigger teams. Neither hit 20 goals though sadly. Goni looks a fine prospect and will play B/C team this season.

Transfers - Unai Nunez (released), Enrique Palacios 42million to Man United, Ibon Igoroin 22million to Bournemouth, Mikel Goti 18million to Marseille. 
No signings of note this year, pretty slim pickings on the youth front and we don't need to bring in any one to fill squad places. 

Edited by bowieinspace
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The 2024-25 season is over! Going into the last two games, I was 2pts ahead of Barcelona, who I played next. I was away to Atletico Madrid in the last game, so I needed a positive result - and I got it! We needed a record wins/points haul. Barcelona were flying for most of the season and we had to be at our best to match them. Just look at how far Real Madrid, who had won the title the previous season and won the CL this season, were behind. In the cups, we reached the Super Cup final (losing to Atletico Madrid), the Spanish Cup SF (losing to Real Madrid) and the first knockout stages of the CL (losing to Bayern - but then our group comprised Spurs, Dortmund and Benfica so qualifying at all was a miracle!)

We have a strong batch of youngsters. The five wonderkids in our first team are attached. But there are probably a dozen more working towards that level. They won't all come off, but hopefully a few more in the CM positions do, as that is definitely our weakest area at the moment. If I was bold, I'd turn Bidaurrazaga, the Basque Trent Alexander-Arnold, into a totally dominant CM. I've moved Sancet on, will do the same with Unai Lopez (who wants to leave) and may let Vencedor/Nolaskoian move on now as they're mid-20s now without cementing a starting place. Inaki Williams may move on too though he covers so many bases, he's worth keeping, even if his performances tend to be more indifferent. No players likely to come in - this season was not a good one for Basque regens but tbf, we've been spoilt lately.

 

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Edited by dothestrand
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Any suggestions on how to maximize Raul Garcias performance? 

At the moment he is playing as CF, 5 apps 0 goals, tried him as PF also nothing changed. 

Would love to hear your thoughts on that. 

Edited by Vornik
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I’ve had great success with Raul García partnered with Williams in a front 2. García as a pressing forward attack and Williams as an advanced forward. I’m currently in the third season and I keep trying to move on from him as his legs gave gone but I always end up going back to him as he’s so reliable. He’s triggered his 15 goal and assist contributions bonus and I am only 3/4’s of the way through the season, he’s started around half of the games.

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6 hours ago, BlueMikeyP said:

I’ve had great success with Raul García partnered with Williams in a front 2. García as a pressing forward attack and Williams as an advanced forward. I’m currently in the third season and I keep trying to move on from him as his legs gave gone but I always end up going back to him as he’s so reliable. He’s triggered his 15 goal and assist contributions bonus and I am only 3/4’s of the way through the season, he’s started around half of the games.

I agree on that. He is very good as advanced forward and scored Many goals for me in the first season. But must say try give Nico Serrano some time in the first team. He is ridiclius for me and almost cant hold PSG, Chelsea, City and United away. That talent is huge 😏

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12 hours ago, ernemann said:

I agree on that. He is very good as advanced forward and scored Many goals for me in the first season. But must say try give Nico Serrano some time in the first team. He is ridiclius for me and almost cant hold PSG, Chelsea, City and United away. That talent is huge 😏

Serrano is a beast! Using him as right IW, 

You use him as a striker? 

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5 minutes ago, Vornik said:

Serrano is a beast! Using him as right IW, 

You use him as a striker? 

Most of the time yes. Him or Inaki cause didnt have any very good striker, but now I have a great striker, so Serrano is left Wing again. But he is amazing 😏

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Another update and after two league titles in a row I thought should be 3, but no!! Real won the league by being best head to head in the season not a good way to end the season! But then there is Champions League and my old friends from Manchester United - I always meet them - but what a way to end this season :D:applause:

Last but not least legend Iker Munain ended his days at San Mamès after a long carrier and what a player. Too bad he had very bad stats as a coach so couldnt use him in my team. I also put a screenshot of Serrano in 2027 he is so good :Dnico.thumb.png.1a2bdf4ac366f0bb18f4f8ee79d8ebdf.pngmunain.png.7d0cb5c924f5ea9e5d6e567c69841388.png

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Edited by ernemann
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Congrats on lifting the CL! and so disappointing about LaLiga, I'm sure you'll take next season :thup:

Also, could you share your tactic? will be interesting to see how you play mate 

Edited by Vornik
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1 hour ago, Vornik said:

Congrats on lifting the CL! and so disappointing about LaLiga, I'm sure you'll take next season :thup:

Also, could you share your tactic? will be interesting to see how you play mate 

Thanx! Here is is works fantastic and against tuff teams away I use a 3-5-2 tactic :)

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Edited by ernemann
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My Serrano is pretty good but definitely not quite as good as your Serrano! He has variable PA though so not too surprising. I have a very good Artola so perhaps where I got the luck :) 

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I lucked out with Serrano. He's about as good as in @ernemann game. I play him as an AML but could easily do a fine job as a striker. I sold my Artola fairly early. My scouts rate him but I've always had better options with Williams, Navarro, Barrenetxea and various regens. 

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So second season come to an end, as we won the La Liga! 

Really surprising thing! matter of fact that I don't have normal striker, and I made absolutely 0 transfers in this 2 season. I think the fact that Real M. and Barca was really weak, what gave me the ability to rise above them. 

In the Champions league, I was beaten by PSG at the quarter final, with a 90 min goal winner from them :(

And at the cups game I usually play with youngsters and getting knocked out at the early stages. 

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image.png.293a357868ddc61da1cb149fbecd5436.png

 

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