Zinedine Zidane’s infamous 2006 World Cup final headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi.© AFP
Qatar is looking to exhibit a controversial statue of Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt during the 2006 World Cup final ahead of this year’s tournament, authorities said Monday. The five-meter-tall bronze statue showing the French legend confronting Italian defender Marco Materazzi was hung on the coast of Doha for less than four weeks in 2013 when protests that it was violating Islamic rules on idol worship led to it being shut down. was brought down. The statue will now take center stage in an exhibit at Doha’s new international sports museum on the impact of high-level sport on “mental health and coping with stress,” said Qatari head Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani . museums.
“It was nothing against public art, it was more that it felt that this was not the right location and it will be reinstalled,” Al Thani told a news conference.
“We are actually planning to reinstall it in the 3-2-1 museum. Zidane is a good friend of Qatar and he is a great role model for the Arab world.
“One of the things we try to teach and empower people through art is facts about life. So with the Zinedine Zidane sculpture, we will be talking a lot about the stress on athletes during major tournaments and the importance of the coping with mental health problems.”
Museum officials said they hoped the statue would be on display again at the start of the 2022 World Cup on November 21.
The statue sculpted by Algeria-born French artist Adel Abdessemed offended conservatives in the Islamic emirate after it was posted in 2013. A social media campaign saw many people condemn it as a blatant violation of religious principles.
Al Thani said there was often opposition to art. “At first they criticize it, but then they accept it.”
Qatar, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new museums and art over the past two decades, is planning a major campaign for the World Cup, which is expected to visit 1.4 million people.
The historic Museum of Islamic Art, which has undergone a massive renovation, will reopen in October, Al Thani said.
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