By Johann Crochet
FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala believes he can achieve his dream of representing France at next year’s World Cup without forcing a move away from Portugal.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a host of Europe’s top clubs after impressing for the reigning Portuguese champions with reports suggesting the likes of Chelsea are poised for a January swoop.
However, the former Standard Liege man believes he can achieve his short-term goals without the increased exposure of a big-money move.
"I'm not in a hurry to leave Porto,” he told Goal.
“It has been a wonderful year for me. We won a second consecutive league title and I am now in the first team after a difficult first season in Portugal. I also had the pleasure of earning my first cap with the French national team.
“Porto are a big European club and I earned my first international cap thanks to my performances with this club.
“That proved to me that I can make the France squad while playing for Porto. I'm happy here, where we play the Champions League every season and we always play it to win. I am playing for a club at high level which brings big pressure."
Porto’s European campaign for this season has already ended, however, after this month’s defeat to Ateltico Madrid condemned them to a group stage exit.
“It was a very disappointing result, the worst one since I've been with Porto,” Mangala continued.
“We lacked something very important: defensive and offensive efficiency. In a competition as competitive as the Champions League, you can't miss as open goals as we have done. But, we are now in the Europa League and we'll play to win that.”
Teammate Fernandois another to be linked with a winter move away from the club and Mangala believes the Brazil-born Portuguese national has what it takes to play for any team in Europe.
“I'm delighted to be playing with Fernando,” he said.
“He's very intelligent, he sees things before everybody else and he is always where he has to be on the pitch.
“He is very good technically and is the player who starts our attacks. I think he can be in the starting XI of every team [in Europe].”