Interview: Anthony Modeste Talks About Playing in the Champions League, Representing His Country and More

Borussia Dortmund striker Anthony Modeste enjoys every single moment but doesn’t take anything for granted: Playing in the UEFA Champions League and representing his country at a World Cup have been Anthony Modeste’s dreams since he began playing football.

Being on the Borussia Dortmund team now fulfils his first dream, the 34 year-old says. “I’ve had many ups and downs,” he admits. “But I have always been able to rebound – that is my strength of character.” And he is confident: “I also know that it’s not over yet.”

The Interview

You played with Dortmund for the first time in the Champions League. Was this the moment one of your dreams became a reality?

“When you start playing football, you have two main objectives. Firstly, to play in the Champions League and secondly to represent your country at a World Cup. One of my dreams became a reality.”

You had to wait until you were 34 before making your Champions League debut. How did you feel?

“My career has not been typical, that’s true. I’ve had many ups and downs. But I have always been able to rebound – that is my strength of character. And I’ve worked hard to be where I am. Over the last two years, a lot of people have written me off and said that my career was over. I have proven them wrong. There is nothing better than playing in the Champions League.”

You have had many ups and downs in your career to date. Where does your Champions League debut rank?

“When I heard the music, it’s true that a tear came to my eye. If I look back at my career to date, it’s great what I have achieved but I also know that it’s not over yet. And I also thought of my father, who died four years ago.”

You signed for one of Europe’s biggest clubs at the age of 34. Did you ever think that would happen?

“If you play football, you always dream of playing for the biggest clubs. That was the case for me too. I always dreamed of playing with the best players in the world. And that has now come true. I am enjoying every single moment and not taking anything for granted. I know not everyone gets to experience this. I just need to keep going and try to score as many goals as possible. And get as many assists as possible too. It’s good to work for the team as a striker, but the most important thing is putting the ball in the back of the net.”

How did the first talks with Dortmund go?

“Things moved very quickly. I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to compete in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. I had always aspired to play at the highest level, so it was difficult to turn down. I was very grateful that a club like Borussia Dortmund had taken notice of my performances. If you don’t perform well, clubs like Dortmund aren’t interested.”

What is the Yellow Wall like from the pitch?

“Yes, it’s incredible. It really adds a whole other dimension. I can’t wait to score my first goal in front of the Yellow Wall. It’s something else.”

Why did you feel the need to celebrate your first goal with Edin?

“Because my transfer from Köln to Dortmund was not simple. I had become a real part of the club during my time there. But you have to make choices in life. And it was a very difficult decision for me. But I think it’s an acceptable choice. I know where I come from, and nothing has ever been handed to me. I was given the chance to play Champions League football at the age of 34. I don’t think I’ll get a second chance. When the offer arrived, I had to accept it. I know that I disappointed some people but sometimes in life, you have to make your decision. And that’s what I did.”

What makes the Bundesliga special?

“I have been in Germany for nine years now. I love the league here, I love the football here, and the environment. I don’t know who will finish on top.”

And then the derby. What makes this derby so special?

“Yes, it’s the derby. Two rival clubs, the towns are close to each other. I played at Köln and experienced the derby with Gladbach. And I know that the Dortmund-Schalke derby is fierce. It will be great to be part of it. As players, we simply focus on what we need to do on the pitch and not the noise around the pitch. That’s the most important thing as a player.”

Is it true that Axel Witsel is a godfather to your child?

“No, he isn’t. But he is someone I am very close to. It’s strange because he left just as I arrived. I actually told him to come to Dortmund when we were playing together in China. We keep missing each other. Maybe we’ll play against each other at some point. Though we did play together in China. But yes, we are good friends.”

What is the best photo or video that you have ever posted on Instagram, and why?

“I recently posted a picture of me, my mother, and my grandmother. It’s a photo that represents a lot – them watching me. It shows a lot of the things that are important to me in life.”

In a picture of you and your son, he says it’s time to ‘eat Bayern’. Do you see a chance to do so here at Dortmund?

“The chance is probably slightly higher now that I’m at Dortmund. But I hope so, yes. And if it happens, I’ll dig this photo out.”