Qatar removes Zidane 'headbutt' statue from Corniche

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A 16ft bronze statue of French footballer Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt has been taken down from the Corniche in Doha, Qatar following complaints from locals.

Local media reported that the statue - known as Coup de Tete or headbutt - is going to be housed along with other works by Abdessemed in the Arab Museum of Modern Art.

The statue generated criticism from religious conservatives who believe depictions of living creatures, such as humans and animals, should be discouraged in Islam, over concerns of challenges to the monotheistic faith. Others thought it promoted violence or was in bad taste.

It portrays Zidane headbutting Italy's Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup.

Created by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed in 2012, it had previously been on show at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

The Arabic hashtag "Zidane's statue in Qatar" triggered a "massive" reaction from dismayed conservatives on Twitter, said AFP, with one user sarcastically posting: "Congratulations for having new idols."

The statue's craftsmanship and symbolism were earlier praised as "timeless as Greek mythological works of art" by the Jean-Paul Engelen, director of Public Art at the Qatari Museum Authority.

In 2010 it was reported Zidane was paid $15m for his role as an ambassador as part of Qatar's successful bid to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

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