Qatar is to re-install a sculpture immortalizing French footballing legend Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt during the 2006 World Cup final, where Zizou received a red card and France lost to Italy in penalties. The headbutt statue was removed in 2013 because of a domestic backlash. The news was confirmed by the head of Qatar Museums on Monday.
The 5-metre bronze ‘Headbutt’ statue called “Coup de tête” was removed days after its unveiling after people criticized the work for promoting idolatry and others said it encouraged violence. “Evolution happens in societies. It takes time and people may criticize something, to begin with, but then understand it and get used to it,” said Qatar Museums Chairperson Sheikha al-Mayassa Al-Thani.
She later talked about how the headbutt statue was built 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.
The incident has been part of footballing folklore as it literally cost France a World Cup trophy after dominating the tournament. Talking about the incident, Italian midfielder Marco Materazzi talked about the circumstances that led to Zidane’s headbutt.
On this day in 2006, Zinedine Zidane was sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final. It was his last act as a professional footballer.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 9, 2020
While speaking on an Instagram live in May 2020. “I wasn’t expecting it in that moment. I was lucky enough that the whole episode took me by surprise because if I had expected something like that to happen and had been ready for it, I’m sure both of us would have ended up being sent off,” Materazzi said.
“There had been a bit of contact between us in the area. He had scored France’s goal in the first half and our coach (Marcello Lippi) told me to mark him. After that first brush between us, I apologized but he reacted badly,” he recalled.
“The late tackles, altercations and exchanges continued until 110 minutes, when things reached a head. After the third clash, I frowned and he retorted: ‘I’ll give you my shirt later’. I replied that I’d rather have his sister than his shirt.”