Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed’s “Headbutt” is on display outside the Centre Pompidou in Paris. An “ode to defeat,” it commemorates Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt of Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final, which saw him red carded and an eventual Italian win on penalties.
It remains understated how surreal of a sports moment that was. Zidane was the best soccer player of his generation. He had won the Ballon d’Or. He had won the World Cup, the European Championship and the Champions League. He leads France to the World Cup Final on his last fumes as a 34-year-old. He’s approaching a victory that would vault him into the Pele/Maradona discussion. Then a flash of anger and he’s gone. An all-time great resumé with an incongruous ending.
Picture Michael Jordan heading to his sixth NBA title in 1998. Instead of hitting the game-winning shot, he punches John Stockton in the face and gets thrown out of the game and suspended for Game 7 as the Jazz hang on and then come back and win the final game. Jordan than retires and doesn’t have a silly return with the Wizards.
[Photos via Getty]