Six years after French football legend Zinedine Zidane was ejected from the 2006 World Cup championships for headbutting another player, the infamous moment has been immortalised in the form of a bronze statue in the heart of the French capital.
It was a moment that France will never forget. In the 110th minute of the 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy, Les Bleus captain Zinedine Zidane headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Zidane was ejected from the game, France lost and a nation was left heartbroken.
Now the infamous move has been immortalised in the form of a massive bronze statue on exhibit outside of Paris’ world famous Pompidou centre.
The five-metre (16 feet) tall statue, which is very appropriately titled “Headbutt”, had already attracted herds of tourists and locals on Wednesday, who jostled each other to have their photo taken beside it.
The gargantuan sculpture was created by Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed, who the Pompidou is doing a retrospective exhibit on from October 3 until January.
“An ode to defeat”
“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.
Zidane became a legend in France after playing on the national teams that won both the 1998 World Cup and the Euro 2000. The headbutting incident was made all the more tragic by the fact that Zidane had announced that the match would be his last professional appearance as a player. Zidane later claimed that Materazzi had provoked him by insulting his mother and sister.
The statue will remain in front of the Pompidou till the end of the Abdessemed exhibition in January. A much smaller version of the piece was previously on display in a New York art gallery.