A controversial work of art has just been placed outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris – a statue of Zinedine Zidane headbutting Italy’s Marco Materazzi, the last action in the career of a great footballer.
Quite why Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed has chosen to immortalize this pivotal moment in bronze is anyone’s guess. And quite why the French have placed it so prominently is another mystery.
While football statues seem to be cropping up everywhere – Henry (Arsenal), Osgood (Chelsea), Moore (Wembley), Bremner (Leeds), Robson (Newcastle) and countless more – they are generally celebrating a player. Is Zidane’s statue meant to do that? Or is it irony?
Perhaps it is a statement from the artist who wants to point out that if Zidane had stayed on the pitch, France may have beaten Italy in the 2006 World Cup final. Let’s face it, the game was up for grabs.
As for the statue, it’s poor. There’s something a little homoerotic about it, and as one report said, Zidane looks like a stumbling tailor’s dummy. Zidane deserves better recognition of his talent – the most entertaining Frenchman since Cantona, the greatest since Platini.