Controversial Zinedine Zidane statue to be re-installed for World Cup in Qatar
The five-metre bronze work depicts Zidane's infamous headbutt
A statue immortalising Zinedine Zidane's headbutt during the 2006 World Cup final is set to be re-installed for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
It was removed in 2013 after a domestic backlash, with people in the conservative Muslim country criticising the five-metre bronze work for promoting idolatry, while other suggested that 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," Qatar Museums chairperson Sheikha al-Mayassa al-Thani said on Monday.
She also stated that the original site where the statue was situated - which was on the capital's seafront corniche - was "not right" and that it would therefore be placed in a new sports museum in Doha.
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The sculpture by French artist Adel Abdessemed depicts the moment during extra time in the 2006 World Cup final when Zidane headbutted Italy's Marco Materazzi. Zidane, which saw him get sent off before Italy went on to beat France on penalties.
Al-Mayassa claimed that the aim of displaying the statue was 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,” she said. “Art, like anything else, is a matter of taste. Our goal is to empower people."
Zidane previously backed Qatar's World Cup bid
The France legend previously revealed that he was offered the chance to play in Qatar when he was coming to the end of his playing career, and suggested that they had the 'right' to organise a World Cup.
"When I stopped playing football, Qatar approached me and wanted me to play there. [I was offered] a blank cheque, I could have written whatever sum I wanted. [But] I didn't want to go and play in Qatar. Why shouldn't they have the right to organise a World Cup?" he said.
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