Zinedine Zidane head-butt statue in Doha Corniche removed

November 1, 2013

The statue being removed from the Corniche was initially unveiled outside the Pompidou art museum in Paris. – Al Sharq

The five-metre bronze statue depicting French footballer Zinédine Zidane’s infamous head-butt on Italy’s Marcro Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final match has been removed from Doha’s Corniche.

The monument, officially known as Coup de tête (head butt), was installed on the famous landmark of the Qatari capital just over three weeks ago.

However, the head-butt sculpture, initially unveiled outside the Pompidou art museum in Paris, waded into controversy and several Qataris used social networks to express their dismay and call for its removal.

Criticism ranged from equating the statue with bad taste to promoting violence and capturing the only negative moment in Zidane’s exemplary career. Some users opposed it on religious grounds.

However, Jean Paul Engelen, director of Public Art at the Qatar Museums Authority, told Doha News earlier this month that the statue craftsmanship and symbolism were “as timeless as Greek mythological works of art”.

Engelen insisted that the sculpture glorified human defects and showed that footballers were just human beings.

No explanation was provided for the removal of the statue, but reports in Doha said that it would be installed at Mathaf, the Museum of Modern Arab Art.

News of the statue’s removal prompted messages of congratulations on Twitter, mainly among Qataris.

The sculpture that captures Zidane’s moment of anger was created in 2012 by Adel Abdessemed, who, like Zidane, is a French national of Algerian descent.

The French legendary player was red-carded for his head-butt and his team, without him, lost the match.

Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup finals.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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