sport

Mangala outlines English dream

FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala has expressed his desire to ply his trade in the Premier League and revealed his World Cup ambitions.

Both Chelsea and Manchester City reportedly displayed interest in the centre-back during the summer but, with the January transfer window set to open, Mangala plans to see the season out in the Primeira Liga.

However, the 22-year-old has outlined his ambition to join a Premier League club, claiming the English structure is the best in the world.

"You can have the best agent in the world, but if you are not outstanding on the pitch you will never join any great club," he told L'Equipe.

"The Premier League? That is no secret, to me it is the most beautiful league in the world.

"Whatever the opponent, you know it will be a fight. The game is intense, it is fast, and everyone is giving his very best."

Risk

Despite the allure of a Premier League switch last summer, Mangala is confident he made the correct decision as he continues to pursue a place in the France World Cup squad for Brazil 2014.

Speaking of the interest last summer, he said: "I have no regrets to have stayed. The first time I was called into the French squad I played at Porto.

"Today I feel at home at Porto, where I can go on improving by playing matches.

"Moreover, it is always a risk to leave before a big international competition. A departure is not topical."

Mangala was left out of the France squad ahead of their World Cup qualification play-off with Ukraine in November, but the one-cap international remains confident he will impress manager Didier Deschamps with his on-field displays.

"As I was not called, that means I am quite far away from the squad," he added. "It is up to me to try to be better than the other players in the team.

"Football is a matter of moments. If I am outstanding during the next six months, my performances will not be neglected. Only the pitch matters."