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In pictures: Barcelona in Middle East

August 4, 2013

Warm-ups preceded the clinic as the players were cheered on. Hearing such noise at a warm-up must have been a new experience for the players. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Warm-ups preceded the clinic as the players were cheered on. Hearing such noise at a warm-up must have been a new experience for the players. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Palestinians are known to be among the most passionate football fans in the world. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Palestinians are known to be among the most passionate football fans in the world. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
There was no doubt who the most sought-after star was at Hebron. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
There was no doubt who the most sought-after star was at Hebron. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Palestinian football fans, meanwhile, waited for the Barcelona players to arrive at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Palestinian football fans, meanwhile, waited for the Barcelona players to arrive at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Given the number of fans gathered in Bethlehem, Barcelona's Peace Tour was already a big hit. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Given the number of fans gathered in Bethlehem, Barcelona's Peace Tour was already a big hit. Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA
Mahmoud Abbas, right, the Palestine president, had a meeting with the Barcelona contingent. He even received an old football from Sandro Rosell, the Barcelona president, as a gift. Thaer Ganaim / EPA
Mahmoud Abbas, right, the Palestine president, had a meeting with the Barcelona contingent. He even received an old football from Sandro Rosell, the Barcelona president, as a gift. Thaer Ganaim / EPA
Abbas also spent time with the players, shaking hands with the entire squad, including the likes of Andres Iniesta, third from right. Thaer Ganaim / EPA
Abbas also spent time with the players, shaking hands with the entire squad, including the likes of Andres Iniesta, third from right. Thaer Ganaim / EPA
Barcelona football club, the Spanish Primera Liga giants, travelled to Israel and Palestine on their pre-season tour. Their motive was clear: visit the Middle East, organise football clinics, teach children to play football and bring a message of peace. L???
Barcelona football club, the Spanish Primera Liga giants, travelled to Israel and Palestine on their pre-season tour. Their motive was clear: visit the Middle East, organise football clinics, teach children to play football and bring a message of peace. L???
Dani Alves, the Brazilian defender, spent time coaching the children and signing autographs for 40 children during the hour-long clinic. Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images
Dani Alves, the Brazilian defender, spent time coaching the children and signing autographs for 40 children during the hour-long clinic. Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images
Palestinian fans thronged in the thousands, several of them holding up signs for members of the Barcelona squad. Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images
Palestinian fans thronged in the thousands, several of them holding up signs for members of the Barcelona squad. Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images
Gerard Pique chipped in as well, showing off his skills. Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images
Gerard Pique chipped in as well, showing off his skills. Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images
Another prominent host of the Barca squad was Mohammed Assaf, the Palestinian winner of "Arab Idol" talent show who was making his way to Dora, in Hebron, to watch the visitors in action. Hazem Bader / AFP
Another prominent host of the Barca squad was Mohammed Assaf, the Palestinian winner of 'Arab Idol' talent show who was making his way to Dora, in Hebron, to watch the visitors in action. Hazem Bader / AFP
Messi, considered the world's best football player, was seen at Manger Square while followed by club officials and a group of local fans. Musa Al Shaer / AFP
Messi, considered the world's best football player, was seen at Manger Square while followed by club officials and a group of local fans. Musa Al Shaer / AFP
The lucky few even had the opportunity to pose for pictures with Messi. Ammar Awad / Reuters
The lucky few even had the opportunity to pose for pictures with Messi. Ammar Awad / Reuters
According to one source, there were 25,000 spectators at the stadium. Mussa Qawasma / Reuters
According to one source, there were 25,000 spectators at the stadium. Mussa Qawasma / Reuters
The Catalans made their way into the stadium at Hebron to hold a coaching clinic. Nasser Shiyoukhi / AP Photo
The Catalans made their way into the stadium at Hebron to hold a coaching clinic. Nasser Shiyoukhi / AP Photo
By now, Messi and his teammates were feeling the love. Nasser Shiyoukhi / AP Photo
By now, Messi and his teammates were feeling the love. Nasser Shiyoukhi / AP Photo
Neymar did his bit, training and instructing the children. Nasser Shiyoukhi / AP Photo
Neymar did his bit, training and instructing the children. Nasser Shiyoukhi / AP Photo
The Argentine star made his way into the Church of Nativity. Musa Al Shaer / AFP
The Argentine star made his way into the Church of Nativity. Musa Al Shaer / AFP
Players such as Gerard Pique, the Barcelona defender, had his photo taken with fans during the whirlwind visit. Musa Al Shaer / AFP
Players such as Gerard Pique, the Barcelona defender, had his photo taken with fans during the whirlwind visit. Musa Al Shaer / AFP
Messi's teammates also spent time in Bethlehem, looking at monuments and spending time with the local citizens. Musa Al Shaer / AFP
Messi's teammates also spent time in Bethlehem, looking at monuments and spending time with the local citizens. Musa Al Shaer / AFP