Headbutt (sculpture)

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ArtistAdel Abdessemed
Dimensions500 cm (200 in)

Headbutt (French: Coup de tête) is a sculpture by French artist Adel Abdessemed. It is 5 m (16.4 ft) tall and made from bronze. It was unveiled on 26 September 2012 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.[1]


The sculpture depicts an incident that took place in the 110th minute of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Italy,[2] when Zinedine Zidane headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest after Materazzi had verbally provoked him.[3] Zidane consequently received a red card and was sent off. France lost the match, which was Zidane's final match as a professional footballer.


Pompidou Centre[edit]

As France subsequently lost the match, exhibition organiser Alain Michaud has described it as "...against the tradition of making statues in honour of certain victories. It is an ode to defeat".[1]

In November 2012, Materazzi posed for a photo in front of the statue, and uploaded it to Twitter with the post "I Love Haters".[4]

Qatar Museums Authority[edit]

As part of Qatar Museums Authority public art program the sculpture was brought to Doha for an undisclosed amount on 4 October 2013, intended to be permanently installed on the Corniche near Al Mourjan restaurant.[5][6]

Jean Paul Engelen, QMA’s director of Public Art, said that he expects the sculpture to be equally popular in Qatar:

"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."[7]

However the sculpture was removed on 30 October, owing to criticism from Islamic conservatives who complained that glorifying the infamous act of violence set a bad example for local youth and bordered on idolatry. It was then moved into the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Zinedine Zidane headbutt statue unveiled in Paris". France 24. 26 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Sculpture of Zidane headbutt 'ode to defeat'". Sowetan Live. 28 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Materazzi reveals insult to Zidane". CNN. 5 September 2006.
  4. ^ Fortune, Matt (5 November 2012). "Materazzi sees funny side of Zidane's headbutt after posing by statue". Daily Mail.
  5. ^ Scott, Victoria (3 October 2013). "QMA installs five-meter Zidane 'head-butt' statue on Corniche". Doha News.
  6. ^ "Qatar erects 5-meter-high 'Head Butt' statue of Zidane". ANSA News. 3 October 2013.
  7. ^ Hope, Craig (4 October 2013). "Zidane plants headbutt on Materazzi in Qatar... don't worry, it's only a statue!". Daily Mail.
  8. ^ "Qatar takes down statue of 'headbutting' soccer players after backlash". Fox News. 1 November 2013.