Football star Zinedine Zidane found some ‘unwanted’ attention in the Qatari capital on Friday when a huge statue immortalising the headbutt delivered by French striker to Italian player Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final went on an outdoor display.
Standing 16.5 feet tall, the statue on Friday received final touches from a group of workers on Doha Corniche, a place often frequented by joggers all year round.
Commissioned by the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), the huge sculpture was produced by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed.
The same “Coup de Tete” sculpture was put on display earlier outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
According to media reports, it was also reportedly displayed between July and September in Italy’s coastal town of Pietrasanta.
Abdessemed, who is based in New York and Paris, transforms materials and imagery into unexpected and sometimes provocative artistic declarations, using a wide range of media, including drawing, video, photography, performance, and sculpture.
His inspiration comes from many sources — personal, historical, social, and political — and his work is sensitive and controversial, radical and mundane.
Abdessemed’s art describes effects of the globalised society on an individual, sometimes using personal experiences to express his thoughts through his creations.
Jean Paul Engelen, Director of Public Art at QMA, said in a news report: “Adel Abdessemed’s sculpture tells a 21st Century story in a 19th Century style. It looks to the ancient Greek tragedies to trace doomed heroes and the frailties of human nature.”
Engelen added: “In our world we look to football players as super heroes like their classical forebears, ultimately they display the same faults and defects we have and particularly when family honour is at stake. We are very proud that this sculpture has made its way from the Pompidou Museum in Paris to Doha’s Corniche.”
Arab Museum of Modern Art will open an exhibition L’âge d’or (Golden Age) of works by Abdessemed on Sunday which will run until January 5.
Zidane is a retired footballer who played as an attacking midfielder for the French national team, Juventus and Real Madrid.
At club level Zidane won La Liga and the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, two Serie A league championships with Juventus and an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup each with both aforementioned sides.
On the international stage Zidane won 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000 with France.
Amongst his personal accolades Zidane has won the FIFA World Player of the Year three times, and the Ballon D’Or once.
Zidane was red-carded in the 110th minute of the 2006 World Cup final after headbutting Materazzi in the chest. Italy won the final 5–3 on a penalty shootout. It was his last match as professional footballer.