A five-foot high bronze statue of Zinedine Zidane's infamous 2006 World Cup final headbutt of Italian Marco Materazzi has been installed in front of the George Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Probably one of the most bizarre and iconic images of the former Juventus and Real Madrid player, the headbutt saw the Frenchman red carded immediately and Italy went on to win the trophy on penalties. It was all the more bewildering that it was the midfielder's last ever act as a professional footballer bookending an otherwise stellar career. Zidane had had an exemplary disciplinary record up to that point. After the game Zidane allegedly said that he would 'rather die' than apologise to Materazzi, but also said that he 'could never have lived with himself' had he been allowed to stay on and help his side win the game.
The mild-mannered footballer who is of Algerian Berber descent is considered one of the greatest footballers of the modern era and is deeply revered both in France and Italy. He became the symbol of an ethnically diverse and successful France and inspired a generation of footballers to take up the game.
The Pompidou Centre is hosting a retrospective exhibition by the statue's creator Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed from October 3rd until January next year and the interest gained by the bronze colossus has insure plenty of international attention.
"This statue goes against the tradition of making statues in honour of certain victories. It is an ode to defeat," said exhibition organiser Alain Michaud. Sure, or it could be a very clever marketing exercise.
Zidane is currently Real Madrid's Director of Football and in July of this year announced that as soon as he completes his management qualifications he will begin training to be a coach while at the same time coaching the Real Madrid youth team.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty