Heading into Bundesliga Matchday 10 there was a rather unexpected name setting the early-season pace in the race for the Golden Shoe, awarded annually to European club football's top scorer.
Anthony Modeste fired himself to the top of the pile with a hat-trick against Hamburger SV and while he has since been overtaken (by Evgeny Kabaev of Estonian side JK Sillamäe Kalev), 1. FC Köln's French frontman is enjoying a quite remarkable campaign so far. Eleven goals in ten outings certainly makes for impressive reading – even if the man himself does not seem to attach undue significance to it.
Watch: Every one of Modeste's 11 goals so far:
“My friends cut those kind of things out the newspaper or take a screenshot off the internet and sure, it's good for me – but what matters most is that my goals help keep Köln in the mix at the top,” the 28-year-old Cannes native explained. They did experience a hiccup last time out, losing 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt, with Modeste failing to find the net for the first time in five games.
Arriving at Köln from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the summer of 2015, he finished his first season as the Billy Goats' 15-goal top scorer. His explosive start to the current one has catapulted him into the front rank of Bundesliga strikers. Modeste, true to his name, prefers to share the credit around, insisting, “I'm no Messi or Ronaldo, beating three or four players before scoring. Without my teammates, I can't do anything.”
With them, he can evidently do an awful lot. Against Hamburg, he bounced back from missing a first-half penalty to rattle in an unanswered hat-trick after the restart. After an up-and-down couple of seasons at Hoffenheim to kick off his Bundesliga career, the muscular centre-forward has taken his game – and confidence – up to a new level.
At Köln, moreover, he seems to have found a genuine home-from-home, saying, “I feel good here. I've a coach who trusts me in Peter Stöger and teammates whose company I enjoy. We eat out together regularly and have a good laugh. That gives me strength and makes me happy.” So much so in fact that, “I'd have no problem living here after I stopped playing. Even now, I can imagine staying on and working for the club.” The Köln fans are more than satisfied to see him stick to his current role for time being – with or without that Golden Shoe.