The Qatar Museum Authority has decided to buy a 16-foot tall statue of Zinedine Zidane infamously headbutting Marco Materazzi, for an untold sum. Qatar, which is the tentative site of the 2022 World Cup, had moved the "ode to defeat" to its shores last week.
During the 2006 World Cup in Berlin, Zidane headbutted Materazzi in the sternum:
After the butting, Zidane received a red card and was ejected from the game, and Italy went on to defeat France 5-3. It was later discovered that Materazzi had insulted Zidane's sister, which led to Zidane's heightened anger. In 2010, Zidane said that he would "rather die than apologize" to Materazzi, though also admitted that he "could never have lived with himself" had he been allowed to remain in the game. Zidane retired after the incident.
The statue, entitled "Coup de Tete," was created by Algerian Artist Adel Abdessemed, and was originally unveiled at a museum in France last year. It's now being installed in outside of a restaurant in Doha.
The QMA's director of public art told the Doha News, "Yes, we expect a lot of people to want to take photos with it, and of it. 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.”
Oil-rich Qatar has been recently struggling to keep dibs on hosting the 2022 World Cup. Aside from the classy headbutt statue acquisition, the country has been questioned by soccer federation FIFA about its use hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, in a situation similar to modern-day slavery. It's been reported that 44 Nepalese workers died so far this year, while building World Cup infrastructure.
The World Cup is the largest sports event on the planet, and Qatar is putting about $100 billion into hosting the event. While soccer isn't so big a deal in the U.S., foreigners take the game very seriously.
Image via YouTube.