A meeting between PSG and the football icon is reportedly taking place today in Qatar, where PSG Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi resides, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The head of Qatar Museums stated on Monday that the country aims to re-install a sculpture commemorating French-Algerian soccer player Zinedine Zidane’s ‘headbutt’ during the 2006 World Cup final, which was removed in 2013 amid a domestic outcry.
The 5-meter bronze sculpture “Coup de tête” was taken down just days after it was unveiled, when critics in the country accused it of promoting idolatry and encouraging violence.
“Evolution happens in societies. It takes time and people may criticise something to begin with, but then understand it and get used to it,” said Qatar Museums Chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani.
She claimed the sculpture’s initial location on the capital’s seafront corniche was “not right,” and that it would be reinstalled at the new sports museum in Doha.
Al Mayassa also explained to reporters the aim of displaying the work was to promote conversations about “stress on athletes…and the importance of dealing with issues of mental health”.
“Zidane is a great friend of Qatar. And he’s a great role model for the Arab world,” she said. “Art, like anything else, is a matter of taste. Our goal is to empower people.”
The sculpture, designed and crafted by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed, depicts Zidane headbutting Italy’s Marco Materazzi during extra time in the 2006 World Cup final.
After Zidane was sent off, Italy won against France on penalties.
To avoid idolatry, some conservative Muslims think that artistic portrayals of human forms are forbidden, and should be prohibited. Although many Muslim countries have public sculptures, they are much less prevalent in the Gulf region.
The sculpture was not the only one in Doha that sparked debate.
14 enormous bronze sculptures portraying the gestation of a foetus that were exhibited on the grounds of Sidra hospital in 2013 were hidden under giant wooden hoardings.
Those have since been unveiled once more.
Despite this, there are differing and contradicting religious rulings on the issue.
Zidane’s PSG offer
The latest developments come as reports suggest a rumoured meeting between Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain and Zidane in Doha on Tuesday, according to Mundo Deportivo.
PSG has reportedly increased its offer for the former Real Madrid coach to take over the club.
A proposal of roughly 25 million euros net per season would make him the best-paid coach in the world, surpassing Diego Simeone’s current salary of 24 million euros per season and Pep Guardiola’s current salary of 23 million euros per season.
However, the former ‘Merengue’ coach does not appear to be concerned about the money.
The Algerian-Frenchman’s strongest condition is in reference to the French national team. Zidane intends to replace Didier Deschamps if he departs the national team after the World Cup.
Meanwhile, PSG has allegedly expressed agreement with this, and believes he could easily mix the two roles because he resides in Paris.