Gillet living in a Nantes wonderland
Guillaume Gillet is living his "dream" of playing in France, and ahead of Sunday's encounter with Girondins de Bordeaux, he told The Ligue 1 Show it is "an honour" to be wearing the colours of FC Nantes.
Gillet has become an indispensable part of Sergio Conceiçao's side since moving to the Stade de la Beaujoire in January 2016, coming full circle 20 years since his first trip there.
"When I was 12 or 13, I played a youth tournament in Nantes," the Belgian-born midfielder explained. "We visited the stadium, La Beaujoire, and if I'd been told that day I'd sign for Nantes and play in Ligue 1, I wouldn't have believed a word of it. But life's good that way."
The quirk of fate has given the 33-year-old the opportunity to continue fulfilling an ambition he first harboured while growing up on the opposite side of France's northern border. A four-time Belgian title winner with Anderlecht, Gillet's head was filled with thoughts of becoming a star south of the border.
WATCH: Gillet's first goal for Nantes
"It's a dream, when you are a Belgian player, of course you hope to be good enough to play in the French league one day," he explained. "There aren't too many Belgians who have made their name in Ligue 1 so for me it's an honour to represent Nantes."
Les Canaris did not provide him with his first taste of life in Ligue 1 though. That came at SC Bastia where the all-action midfielder fell in love with Corsica.
"It's special, when you are wearing the blue shirt and playing on that pitch, whether the results are going your way or not the fans are fantastic. They can truly inspire the team. That was often the case during my time there," said Gillet, who spent the 2014-15 campaign on the Île de la Beauté.
"It's fairly unique. The fact you are on an island is a bit different, it's small, everybody knows each other and the people live and breathe for the football club. I enjoyed some memorable moments there, on or off the pitch. My daughter was born in Bastia so she has a bit of Corsican blood, and I got married there too. So I have very fond memories of my time at Bastia."