While Daniel Arzani ended 2018 on the sidelines following an ACL injury, it was a breakthrough year for the Australian.
Arzani's breathtaking rise to the peak of world football saw him very quickly rubbing shoulders with football stars in Russia.
But rather than being star struck, the former Melbourne City attacker admits it was moment that made him realise the big names were just like anyone else.
"When we played France, Pogba and Mbappe were there and they're just normal people," Arzani told the Fox Football Podcast.
"Pogba’s big, like real big, but they’re still just normal people. That was the weirdest thing for me."
Prior to his Russian adventure, Arzani caught the Socceroos' attention in the A-League with Melbourne City.
Working under now departed coach Warren Joyce, the pacey attacker believes his breakthrough had a lot to do with the Englishman.
"I think for me Warren was unbelievable and I think he was for a lot of the young players as well," Arzani said.
"He’s tough as nails and he really takes the young players aside and tells them they have to do extras.
"He really gets you motivated and gets you going."
Having grown up in Sydney, Arzani revealed every A-League club, but the two in his own city, were interested in him before he signed for Melbourne City.
"I had like a half offer from Sydney…Wanderers weren’t that keen," he said.
"All the other clubs I had offers from except the two clubs I wanted to go to - the Sydney clubs.
"City were pushing really hard to sign me."
Arzani, who is nearing full fitness after injuring his ACL on debut for Celtic, also confirmed he's set to return to the Hoops next season.