Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has lavished praise on Manchester United rival Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of tonight's Champions League semi.

He said: "I have a great deal of respect for Sir Alex Ferguson. He has done a great job. Without any doubt he is one of the best and most influential around. He is the embodiment of football."

Rijkaard also praised United's ability to play both an "English" and a "European" style and accepted Barcelona were underdogs. But he insisted they believed they could win. "They are the best two attacking teams in Europe. Although we respect them, we think we are capable of going through."