Barcelona yesterday ended a brief break in Japan before their Club World Cup battle by meeting children evacuated from the region around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Barcelona players meet Fukushima children, who were orphaned during
the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, before their training in Yokohama
yesterday. Pic/AFP

Lionel Messi, Xavi and other stars presented Barcelona shirts to 11 Fukushima children before an evening training session at a football park owned by the J-League Yokohama Marinos.

The European champions play their semi-final clash with Asian champions Al Sadd of Qatar on Thursday. "I'm very happy. I cannot wash my hands after I shook hands with Messi," 17-year-old Hikari Niitsuma said after he was handed a shirt by the Argentine superstar.