One of the stand out memories for many of the 2006 World Cup was the moment the French soccer ace Zinedine Zidane said goodbye to his dazzling sporting career. A single headbutt to the chest of the hapless Italian Marco Materazzi and Zidane waved goodbye to his livelihood. Now that instant has been immortalised by Algerian sculptor Adel Abdessemed. The sculpture, appropriately entitled Headbutt, currently has pride of place outside the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
One might think this sort of sporting moment best forgotten rather than have a sculpture memorialize it. Yet for many Zidane was in the right. Both players received hefty fines from FIFA for their behaviour yet the exact nature of what happened between the two soccer players has never truly been investigated.
It seems that Materazzi, in the heat of the moment, may have cast aspersions not only on Zidane’s ethnicity but also the reputation of his mother and sister. For a number of people (including, one can only imagine, Abdessemed) his gave Zidane every right to deliver the Italian that infamous headbutt to the chest.