Sportsdesk | October 3, 2013
A statue of the French legend Zinedine Zidane headbutting Italy’s Marco Materazzi in one of football’s seminal moments is being erected on Doha’s Corniche.
According to the Doha News, Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) has brought the sculpture called “Cope de Tete” for an undisclosed sum.
Designed by Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed, it depicts the famous incident in the 2006 World Cup final and was originally installed in Paris.
Zidane, who is of Algerian descent, was sent off with 10 minutes of extra time left at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium when he ploughed his head into Materazzi’s chest. The Italian later admitted he had insulted Zidane’s sister to provoke him. Italy won the trophy.
The statue was first shown outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris, where it received a mixed reception.
Angry French football officials wrote an open letter to Zidane, asking him to get the statue taken down.
“By choosing this provocative image, the artist has deliberately opted to ignore all your talents and all the positive emotions that you were able to share with the people of our country,” the officials wrote.
But Alain Michaud, who organised the original exhibition, told AFP at the time, “This statue goes against the tradition of making statues in honour of certain victories. It is an ode to defeat.”
The statue proved to be a draw for tourists in Paris and Jean Paul Engelen, QMA’s director of Public Art told Doha News that he expects the same in Qatar.
“Yes, we expect a lot of people to want to take photos with it, and of it,” he said.
“It’s an impressive piece. It’s a huge sculpture, and it’s done in the same style as Greek Mythological statues, but this glorifies human defects instead. It shows that although we sometimes treat footballers like gods, they’re not — they’re just human beings.”
The statue is one of a number of works set to grace the Qatari capital as part of QMA’s “public art programme”, with artists such as Damien Hirst and Richard Serra also featuring,
Qatar is set to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup.