24 Oct 2012

Zidane statue angers football officials

8:40 pm on 24 October 2012

French football officials have written to Zinedine Zidane asking him to try to get a statue of him headbutting another player pulled down.

The five-metre-tall bronze sculpture depicting the footballer's infamous attack on the Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final has been placed outside the Pompidou Arts Centre in Paris.

The statue is the work of Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed, who is being honoured by the Pompidou with a retrospective on his work from October to January.

But its prominent display outside the popular centre has angered the national association of local French football officials, AFP reports.

In an open letter, they say it is not the image of Zidane that should be promoted.

They called on him to use his influence to have the statue removed immediately, adding that it would have been better to have highlighted his two headed goals in France's 3-0 win over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final.

Zidane's headbutt on Materazzi, who he claimed had provoked him, came during extra time in the 2006 final in Berlin with the sides tied at 1-1. He was red carded and so missed the penalty shoot-out which Italy won.

Pompidou Centre chief Alain Seban expressed shock at the complaints, saying that they amounted to an attempt to censure artistic creativity.