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Qatar removes Zidane statue after outcry

A statue in Qatar that immortalises the headbutt delivered by French football legend Zinedine Zidane to Italian player Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final has been removed following angry complaints that it was a violation of Islamic values.

Qatar removes Zidane statue after outcry
photo. Karim Jaafar/al-Watan Doha/AFP

Qatar has removed the Zinedine Zidane headbutt statue less than a month after it went on display following an outcry by conservatives, who slammed the art work as anti-Islam idolisation.

The five-metre (16.4-feet) sculpture which immortalises the headbutt delivered by the French football legend to Italian player Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final was put on display on Doha's corniche on October 3.

But the statue that was sculpted by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed appears to have offended conservatives in the Muslim emirate, who saw it as a flagrant violation of religious tenets.

It was removed on Monday, according to local newspapers.

"Congratulations for having new idols," wrote one tweeter sarcastically, as the Arabic hashtag "Zidane's statue in Qatar" triggered massive reaction from dismayed conservatives.

"It is sad that our youth see in this art and modernity. Our children do not differentiate between the right and the wrong, or the haram (prohibited) and the halal (permissible)," wrote another.

Islamic jurisprudence prohibits statues of human beings and animals to avoid the possibility of idolisation.

Although some Muslim countries display statues in public, conservative Gulf nations mostly do not.

Saudi municipal authorities in June smashed sculptures of horses erected on a roundabout in the southwestern Jazan province after the kingdom's top cleric Abdulaziz al-Shaikh wrote to the local governor demanding their removal for being a "great sin".

The Qatar Museum Authority bought the "Coup de Tete" sculpture after it was put on display earlier outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris. It was also reportedly displayed between July and September in Italy's coastal town of Pietrasanta.

QMA reportedly said at the time that the sculpture was planned to be a permanent fixture on the corniche.

Doha News website said the statue will now join Abdessemed's collection that is on display in the Arab Museum of Modern Art, citing QMA chief marketing officer Kimberly French.

The Museum is hosting until January 4 an exhibition by Abdessemed entitled "L'age d'or", featuring drawings, paintings, sculptures and videos.

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FOOTBALL

France’s Zinédine Zidane quits as Real Madrid manager

French football legend Zinédine Zidane announced on Thursday he was leaving Real Madrid, just days after his team won the European Cup.

France's Zinédine Zidane quits as Real Madrid manager
AFP

Zidane, who won the World Cup with France in 1998 as a player, told media at a hastily arranged press conference in Madrid: “The team needs to keep winning so it needs a change to keep winning.”

“The team needs another way, another method of working, that's why I'm going,” he said.

Zidane's Real Madrid team beat Liverpool in the final of the Champions League on Saturday, the third consecutive season the Spanish giants have been crowned champions of Europe under his leadership.

There had been speculation Zidane would have stepped down if his team had lost the final but after securing victory the football world presumed he would stay on.

But the Frenchman, who was a former player at Real Madrid, has surprised everyone including Real's president Florentino Perez who said he was upset by Zidane's “unexpected” decision.

Perez said: “It is a totally unexpected decision, today is a sad day.”

“I told him that Real Madrid will always be his home and he will always be welcome,” said Perez adding that he had not tried to change Zidane's mind.

Speculation will now turn to what Zidane does next. 

Many believe he will end up as the coach of France's national team. He could replace the current national team manager Didier Deschamps if he decides to step down after the World Cup.

Zidane however said he wouldn't be taking up a new post immediately.

“I am not looking for another team,” he said.

But a few teams might come looking for him given his record of winning three Champions League titles on the bounce.

 

 

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