“It is an ode to defeat” is how the organizer of an art exhibit at Paris’ Pompidou Center describes a recently-unveiled statue of Zinedine Zidane. The 16-foot work, by artist Adel Abdessemed, is unusual in that it doesn’t show Zizou in his pomp like most artistic depictions of athletes. Rather it depicts his “moment of madness” from the 2006 World Cup final when he headbutted Italy’s Marco Materazzi, in what would be his last act for France.
Abdessemed’s celebration of Zidane’s momentary lapse of reason calls to mind a piece of advice doled out in Paul Murray’s darkly comic novel Skippy Dies, “Life makes fools of us all sooner or later. But keep your sense of humour and you’ll at least be able to take your humiliations with some measure of grace.”
So in the spirit of the Zidane statue, here are six statues of some infamous moments in English football: