A statue of Zinedine Zidane’s memorable headbutt during the Germany 2006 World Cup Final will be re-installed in Qatar after it was removed in 2013 following a domestic outrage, the head of Qatar Museums disclosed on Monday.
The statue named “Coup de tete”, which stands 5 metre tall, was removed just a few days after its unveiling after some people in the country criticised it for promoting idolatry and encouraging violence.
In defence of the reinstallation, Qatar Museums Chairperson Sheikha al-Mayassa al-Thani said, “Evolution happens in societies. It takes time and people may criticise something, to begin with, but then understand it and get used to it.”
The Chairperson said the initial location of the statue was “not right” and the sculpture would be reinstalled at a new sports museum in Doha, which is hosting the World Cup later this year.
The critics, who are said to be conservative Muslims, believe artistic depictions of human forms should be abolished to avoid idolatry. Although the statues have been mounted for display in many Muslim countries, they are less common in the Arab Gulf.
The statue, sculpted by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed captures the moment during extra time in the 2006 World Cup final when the French skipper, Zidane head-butted Italy’s Marco Materazzi. Zidane was sent off, and Italy went on to beat France on penalties. It was Zidane’s last match as a professional footballer.
Al-Mayassa told reporters that the aim of displaying the work was to promote conversations about “stress on athletes…and the importance of dealing with issues of mental health.”
“Zidane is a great friend of Qatar. And he’s a great role model for the Arab world. Art, like anything else, is a matter of taste. Our goal is to empower people,” she said.