What does the future hold for Kurt Zouma after Hammers star pleads guilty to mistreatment of cat?

Harrowing footage showing Kurt Zouma kicking and slapping his cat rocked the world after the West Ham star’s brother, Yoan, shared the video on popular social media site, Snapchat, on February 6. 

The disgraceful clip, which shows the former Chelsea star volleying a Bengal cat across his kitchen before throwing a pair of shoes at it and then slapping its head, resulted in public outrage that has now led to the 27-year-old facing punishment in a court of law. Commencing on Tuesday, the French defender pleaded guilty to two counts under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court in east London. Zouma has admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on February 6, with his brother also admitting to one count of aiding, abetting, counselling, or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.

District Judge, Susan Holdham, adjourned proceedings until the sentencing hearing on June 1. Trevor Burke QC, who is defending the West Ham star, said his client has been fined £250,000 by his club and lost a ‘substantial’ sponsorship deal with Adidas, while also not being selected for the French national team. But what does the future hold for Zouma once this shameful episode is over? 

It will be a tough comeback for the star

Given the nature of the offence, it will be incredibly difficult for Kurt Zouma to win back the full support of the football world. Even outside of the beautiful game, his actions were deemed disgustingly ugly by animal lovers, celebrities, and politicians alike. For Zouma, the fact that he caused harm to a much-loved domestic pet will take a lot to comeback from, and rightfully so too, of course. We have seen several talented stars fall by the wayside in the past due to issues in their personal lives and Zouma will surely be striving to make sure that he doesn’t do the same. While his actions are indefensible, he deserves the chance to rehabilitate himself and learn from his despicable act. 

West Ham United need his talents

On the pitch, David Moyes’ Hammers will be keen to put this damaging ordeal behind them, not just because it has made the club look bad, but also due to the evident ability Kurt Zouma has. While his behaviour off the pitch is questionable, his performances on the pitch have been solid. The stance West Ham take could, of course, be determined by the outcome of the sentencing hearing on June 1, although the club is expected to standby their £29.8 million signing. Before the Frenchman arrived from Chelsea on 28 August 2021, the Hammers’ backline was in desperate need of defensive reinforcements. Zouma, who was once regarded as the next Lilian Thuram, was therefore seen as a relative coup, especially given his experience on the biggest stage. For David Moyes and the clubs’ hierarchy, the chance to focus on football again undoubtedly can’t come soon enough. 

Zouma has the ability to bounce back 

While it’ll be tough for Kurt Zouma to win back the support of the general public, his undoubted ability will surely stand him in good stead. Although it’s a different scenario on the whole, in the same way Spurs fans have seemingly forgotten about Harry Kane’s desperation to leave the club for Manchester City last summer, the same type of exoneration could come Zouma’s way if he continues to contribute towards West Ham’s improved fortunes. There will certainly be animal lovers and various campaigners who will never forgive the former Saint-Étienne youngster, though.