Anthony Modeste is eyeing goals for new club Borussia Dortmund. - © IMAGO/Kirchner/Marco Steinbrenner/IMAGO/Kirchner-Media
Anthony Modeste is eyeing goals for new club Borussia Dortmund. - © IMAGO/Kirchner/Marco Steinbrenner/IMAGO/Kirchner-Media

Anthony Modeste: 10 things on the Borussia Dortmund striker


Borussia Dortmund pounced for proven Bundesliga goalscorer Anthony Modeste to help their chances in 2022/23. But what else is there to know about the French forward who is famous for an iconic "goggles" celebration? fills you in on how the former Cologne and Hoffenheim player got to where he is today…

1) Football in the blood

Modeste's family originate from the Caribbean Sea island of Martinique, but he was born in Cannes on the French Côte d'Azur. His father Guy was also a professional footballer, although he was a defender by trade. Modeste Senior played just one game in Ligue 1 for Saint-Etienne, part of a career that also included many years with Cannes and Frejus. Anthony would later follow in his father's footsteps by joining Guy's first senior French club Saint-Etienne on loan in February 2021.

2) Nice start

Frejus is the club where Modeste was introduced to the game, near to his Cannes roots. It was not long before his name was echoing along the Côte d'Azur, though, and at 19 he signed a first professional contract with Nice in 2007. Modeste debuted in the first team on the opening day of the 2007/08 Ligue 1 season, and he went on to play 20 times for Nice. He scored only one goal but it was a remarkable 35-yard strike against Rennes.

3) France U21

Modeste worked his way up the youth ranks and debuted as a France U21 international in 2008. He scored six times in 16 appearances at that level but never got the chance to play for the senior side. As a particularly good goalscoring streak took off in the 2016/17 campaign, so too did calls for Modeste to be integrated into the French squad in time for the 2018 World Cup. French sports magazine So Foot were one of the first to promote the Modeste2018 hashtag on social media, but the striker stepped a little out of the limelight when he joined Chinese club Tianjin in summer 2017. Despite scoring almost 200 career goals at club level and often being discussed by France coach Didier Deschamps, he has yet to be capped by Les Bleus.

4) Early travels

Modeste had a rather nomadic start to his career. He spent spells out on loan at Angers - for whom he scored 20 goals and finished behind current France international Olivier Giroud as the Ligue 2 top goalscorer - and then Bordeaux, who signed him for the 2010/11 season.

The 6'2" forward then got his first move abroad - aged 23 -  in January 2012. It wasn't a particularly happy experience, however, as his Blackburn Rovers team were relegated from England's Premier League at the end of that season. Modeste played nine league matches without scoring, started only three of them, and got the first of three red cards in his career.

5) Corsican and Hoffenheim resurgence

Modeste moved on to Bastia on loan for the following campaign. He helped the promoted side to 12th place in Ligue 1 with 15 goals in 36 games, more than a quarter of the Corsican club's total in 2012/13. He then made the move to the Bundesliga in July 2013, scoring five goals in his first six appearances for Hoffenheim. He ended the season with 12 in the Bundesliga as part of an attacking team that also included Roberto Firmino and Kevin Volland. Only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund bettered Hoffenheim's tally of 72 goals in 2013/14.

Modeste and future Liverpool favourite Roberto Firmino scored goals galore while at Hoffenheim together between 2013 and 2015. - imago sportfotodienst/imago/Jan Huebner

6) French Bundesliga record

A further seven league goals followed the next season, after which Modeste left Hoffenheim after netting 23 times in 62 appearances in all competitions overall. He continued a trend of hitting the ground running upon arriving at new clubs after joining Cologne in summer 2015. He hit a hat-trick on debut in a DFB Cup win, going on to register 15 league goals that year. That was a record goals haul for a French player in a single Bundesliga season, and one he would improve upon in both 2021/22 (20 goals) and 2016/17 (25 goals). By the end of 2021/22, he was among the top 20 foreign-born goalscorers in Bundesliga history. He was also only three behind former Bayern star Franck Ribery (86 goals) as the German top flight's all-time leading goalscorer from France.

7) Top five with Cologne

Cologne earned a return to European football after 25 years in large part thanks to their fantastic French frontman. The Billy Goats ended the 2016/17 campaign in fifth, with Modeste getting almost exactly 50 per cent of their 51 goals. With 11 strikes in the opening nine days, he was at one stage the leading goalscorer in Europe's top-five leagues. He eventually finished third on the goalscoring chart that season, with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31 goals) and Robert Lewandowski (30) finding the net more often.

Watch: Modeste's best goals in 2016/17

8) Tearful times

Cologne were sad to see Modeste leave for China, but happy to welcome him back for the second half of the 2018/19 season. By that stage the two-time Bundesliga winners had dropped back into the second tier, and they needed their returning hero's six goals in 10 games to get out of it as champions.

During his first game back in February 2019, Modeste scored with an instinctive finish just four minutes after coming on against Paderborn. He managed his trademark celebration, but - having lost his father just weeks before the game - he broke down in tears soon afterwards.

There would be more tears on 18 September 2021 when Modeste fired home against RB Leipzig. This time he looked to the sky as he celebrated, having scored on his father's birthday.

Watch: An emotional night against Leipzig

9) Iconic celebrations

Modeste famously cups his hands to his eyes when he celebrates his goals, appearing to mimic someone wearing goggles or glasses. The player himself once explained that his wife and a friend gave him the idea, based on his love for emojis and the regularity which he sends them via his phone.

"Do you know the smiley face with the big eyes?" he asked a reporter. "I love these smileys. Every Whatsapp from me ends with a smiley."

Modeste's success - and celebration - has also provided inspiration for other players. England's UEFA Women's Euro 2022 winner and fellow striker Ellen White revealed that her admiration of Modeste and love of the German game is why she celebrates her goals in a similar fashion.

"My husband was like 'why don't you do that?'" White said of why she mimics Modeste's celebration. "We just love German football and went over there on a break and loved the atmosphere and the football."

In November 2021 Modeste enjoyed another famous goal celebration. After getting a late equaliser for Cologne against Union Berlin with his second goal of the game, the pumped-up forward ran to the bench, grabbed the cap of coach Steffen Baumgart - an iconic item in itself - and did a dance while wearing it.

10) Musical tributes

When you can score 20 goals in 32 appearances to help your team finish seventh - like Modeste did with Cologne in 2021/22 - you become accustomed to hearing your name ring out in the stands. We're not sure that many footballers have quite as many recorded songs about them, however, as the man who got 64 goals in 134 Bundesliga matches for the Billy Goats.

Cologne band Klüngelköpp and German singer Ikke Hüftgold both paid musical tribute to the Frenchman in 2017 - inspired by Boney. M's 1979 song 'Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-holiday'.

The same year French rapper MKN released the song 'Anthony Modeste', which is also about the Dortmund striker and features the player himself in its official video. The song imagines Modeste putting the No. 27 jersey on his back, wanting to see the stadium tremble and hear his name echoing from the stands when he enters the pitch. The chorus also advises, though, that if you want to get ahead in life you should remain modest and work hard - just like Anthony did.