Tinchy Stryder to become first rapper to perform at Champions League final

The Number 1 star says his friendship with Manchester United players has not influenced his specially written lyrics

Rapper Tinchy Stryder is playing a surprise gig at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night, when he takes part in the opening ceremony for the Uefa Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona.

A lifelong United fan, Tinchy has written a special set of lyrics to accompany the Champions League anthem. But he told the Guardian: "I can't be biased – the lyrics can't show that I'm supporting one team over the other."

Stryder will be the first rapper and contemporary artist in history to perform at a Champions League final as well as the only singer at Saturday's ceremony. "It's the biggest gig I've ever played," he said. "There's 160 million people around the world expected to watch the game, which is huge by anyone's standards."

The rapper, whose hits include the No 1 singles Number 1 and Never Leave You, has met several members of the United team but said he is closest to defender Rio Ferdinand. "He's the one I speak to," Stryder said. "He's the one who really knows his music. I've no idea what the Barcelona team like – all I know about them is their football, that's what the whole world knows about them."

Stryder seemed oblivious to the fact that Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is reportedly dating Colombian pop star Shakira and was dismissive of most football songs. "I think I heard a Chelsea one once, and there was that England one from 1990 [World in Motion by New Order]," he said, "but that ain't really my thing."

Stryder said he would like to see the Brazilian Rafael picked at right-back, but he expected Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to select Rafael's twin brother Fabio instead. He also said he'd narrowly pick Antonio Valencia over Nani on the wing.

The Champions League anthem was written by English composer Tony Britten following a Uefa commission in 1992. It is adapted from George Frideric Handel's Zadok the Priest.