MARSEILLE, France --

Soccer star Zinedine Zidane's childhood home in Marseille is being demolished, part of an urban renewal project aimed at rehabilitating a blighted area of the southern French city.

Journalists and neighbors crowded around as construction vehicles on Wednesday went to work tearing apart ''Building G,'' unofficially referred to as the ''Zidane building,'' in the Castellan neighborhood of northern Marseille.

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Zidane, a child of Algerian immigrants, became a French soccer idol after he and his ethnically diverse teammates won the World Cup at home in 1998. But his playing career ended badly when he head-butted an opponent and was thrown out of the 2006 World Cup final.

The 43-year-old has since turned to coaching, taking the job with Real Madrid earlier this year.