Mohamed Aboutrika (born November 7, 1978) is an Egyptian footballer. Aboutrika plays as a second striker and attacking midfielder for Egyptian club Al-Ahly as well as the Egyptian national football team.
He was nominated for the 2006 CAF African Footballer of the Year award, and he came second in the 2008 African Footballer of The Year award. He is said to be one of Egypt's most valuable players.
Aboutrika started playing professionally for Egyptian club Tersana before transferring to Al-Ahly in January 2004. He helped Al-Ahly to get the bronze medal in FIFA Club World Cup 2006. He also helped the Egyptian national team to win the African Cup of Nations Egypt 2006, and scored the winner to help Egypt win the 2008 tournament.
In the first part of Egyptian league 2003-2004, Aboutrika scored 3 goals for Tersana. He was offered a position in Egypt's and one of Africa's top football teams, Al-Ahly. He scored 11 goals in his first and only 13 appearances with [Al-Ahly] in 2003-2004 league, coming in the second place between top scorers in the Egyptian League with 14 goals.
Since 2004 when he joined Al-Ahly Club, Aboutrika has scored 7 goals in the Egypt Derby against [Al-Zamalek], 2 less than the record 9 goals by Hossam Hassan.
Aboutrika's efforts with Ahly led to attention from the Egyptian national team, and he debuted against Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly match before the World Cup 2006 qualifiers on March 31, 2004 in [Arab Contractors Stadium]. His debut game ended 2-1 for the Egyptians. He started as an attacker, but was found to play better when he played his normal position behind the attackers in the midfield position. Aboutrika scored his first national goal in this game. He scored 5 goals in his first 6 appearances with Egypt.
In 2005, Al-Ahly regained the Egyptian League Championship after four years out of top position, Aboutrika came in the third place between topscorers in the Egyptian League with 9 goals, and helped his team mate Emad Moteab to be the top scorer of competition. Also in 2005, Aboutrika played a great role in Al-Ahly victory of the CAF Champions League 2005, he scored an amazing goal in the final with an outrageous effort from 30 yards out against Étoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisia in a game ended 3-0 for Al-Ahly.
Al-Ahly qualified for FIFA Club World Championship 2005 but finished last, Aboutrika told FIFA.com the reason saying: "Our problem was that we lost our form, for some reason we could not play like we had before arriving in Japan".
Before Japan, with Aboutrika on-board, Al-Ahly was about to make a new world record for the longest winning-streak for a football club. Some have commented that the combination with Emad Motab and Mohamed Barakat formed the most formidable triangle in African Soccer, and they were given the moniker of "The Bermuda Triangle". The Angolan striker Flavio Amado replaces Barakat sometimes, playing a great role in forming this dangerous triangle.
He proved his international team trump card en route to victory in the African Cup of Nations Egypt 2006, in February 2006, where he scored two important goals against Libya and Ivory Coast. He was the winning goal assistant, in the Semi-final match against Senegal when Amr Zaki scored in the 80th minute. He was very dominant in that game, but his accurate shot hit the bar. In the final match, Aboutrika scored the decisive penalty shootout which gave Egypt the title.
Aboutrika led Al-Ahly to the African Champions title CAF Champions League 2006 for the second successive time in November 2006. He was the top scorer of the competition with 8 goals, and scored the final match winning goal against CS Sfaxien in the 92nd minute.
He participated also with Al-Ahly in winning the African Super Cup against FAR Rabat of Morocco, days after the African Cup of Nations in February.
Locally, he got the Egyptian League in June when he was the top scorer by 18 goals, and won Egyptian Soccer Cup, then the Egyptian Super Cup in July when he scored the winning goal against ENPPI in the 92nd minute despite having suffered an injury in the first half.
Japanese newspapers nominated Aboutrika to be one of the best players in FIFA Club World Championship 2006 in Japan, the last tournament in Aboutrika's great year. Al-Ahly was one of the African representatives, and the first team ever to be qualified two successive times to this championship, and the first African team to win a medal in that competition.
In the opening match of the tournament against Auckland City FC of New Zealand on Dec 10th 2006, Aboutrika helped Al-Ahly to secure and book a semi-final date with Internacional of Brazil. Al-Ahly won 2-0 easily, and Aboutrika capped a fine display by stroking a superbly flighted free-kick over the wall scoring the second goal for his team. As well as netting with his delightful right-foot effort, Aboutrika was at the heart of most his side's best moves, dictating the rhythm with his skill and vision.
In the semi-finals, Al-Ahly faced Brazilian Internacional on December 13, 2006, and Aboutrika played a good game, but his accurate shot hit the Brazilian right-hand post to deprive his team from a deserved draw. Al-Ahly lost the match 2-1, but proved a good efficiency, yet the ball refused to be netted in many available chances to score in Brazilian goalkeeper.'Match Report'
Al-Ahly faced Club América of Mexico, for the third place, and Aboutrika gave Al-Ahly the lead with an amazing free-kick over the wall, ending the first half 1-0 for Al-Ahly. In the second half, America made the draw, but as usual, Aboutrika appeared in the 79th minute with a skilled ball, he showed yet again why he is on the shortlist for the African player of the year. After surging out of midfield and finding Flavio Amado with a pinpoint pass, the mercurial playmaker latched on to the Angolan's return ball and calmly slotted the ball past Mexican goalkeeper for his third goal of the tournament. Al-Ahly won the third place, after Aboutrika lifted his team to an unprecedented result for the Egyptian club or any African outfit. Personally, he became the top scorer of tournament by 3 goals in 3 matches.
Aboutrika won all the competitions he participated in this year, and got the bronze medal for Al-Ahly in FIFA Club World Championship 2006. He was the top scorer in three competitions, which are FIFA Club World Championship 2006 with 3 goals, Egyptian League with 18 goals and CAF Champions League 2006 with 8 goals. Aboutrika scored in other competitions, and made brilliant assistants to strikers.
African Footballer of the Year 2006
Aboutrika , who is Egypt's newest idol according to the FIFA.com expression, was nominated to win the 2006 CAF African Footballer of the Year award along with Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o. The other nominees for the honour were Ghana international midfielder Michael Essien, who plays for English Giants Chelsea, and Nigeria's Nwankwo Kanu, who has twice grabbed the award. Aboutrika said in November 2006: "I would love to be nominated for the CAF Best Player award. That would make 2006 a very special year!".
Aboutrika was the only African based player between nominees, but he is also the only one who made an achievement for his national team this year by winning African Cup of Nations 2006. Aboutrika's brace in FIFA Club World Cup 2006 and his dazzling performances throughout the season made him a serious contender for the CAF African Footballer of the Year award (as well as the BBC one) and secured his standing as Egypt's most popular personality. He did not win the prize but got second place and later was given "best inter-club player" and "best player in the African Champions League."
"Aboutrika has won the highest prize any person can achieve, that is the love of the people," sports columnist Hassan Mistikawi wrote in the top-selling state-owned Al-Ahram daily.
Al-Ahly Portuguese coach Manuel José de Jesus describes Aboutrika as "the best football player in Africa". He said that Aboutrika has more and more skills that didn't appear in Japan. He said: "Aboutrika didn't introduce all what he has in FIFA Club World Cup 2006, but he got the top scorer title and helped leading his team to the third place". José sees Aboutrika as one of the best players he ever trained. He assured this meaning saying: "Aboutrika is priceless for us. I can't imagine my team without him".
In 2007, Al-Ahly won the Egyptian League (2006–2007) for the third successive season. Aboutrika scored 7 goals for his team, although he was injured. Al-Ahly won the Egyptian Soccer Cup 2007 for the second successive time. Aboutrika was the top goalscorer of the competition with 4 goals. He scored a double kick memorable goal against El-Geish in the 8-round game which ended 3-1 for Al-Ahly. In the final, Al-Ahly faced his rival El-Zamalek. Aboutrika made a one neck-saving equalizer in the last 2 minutes on July 2, 2007 in the Egyptian Soccer Cup resulting in extra-time after tying 2-2. After El-Zamalek grabbed their third in the first half of extra-time, Aboutrika dazzeled the stands with two great balls, one an assisted cross over the whites' defense to Osama Hosny to score the equalizer in second half of extra-time in the first seconds of the game and within a minute, he surged between the Zamalek's midfield and passed two Zamalek players before providing an accurate through pass to Ahmad Sedik on the wing who went through on goal and assisted again for Osama Hosny for the late winner and holding high the Egyptian Cup. After that, Al-Ahly won the Egyptian Super Cup 2007 for the third successive time, through shootouts, after tying 1-1 with Ismaily.
In CAF Champions League 2007, Aboutrika scored 4 goals for Al-Ahly until now, to raise his African goals to the number 15. Al-Ahly faced Étoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisia in the final match. Al-Ahly was having the chance to be the first team in the World to reach FIFA Club World Championship three successive times, and the first team in Africa to win CAF Champions League three successive times. However, the two legs ended seeing Étoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisia lifting the cup.
He won the title Best Player in Egypt for 2007 the fourth successive time after 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 setting a new Egyptian record.
African Cup of Nations 2008
In 2008, Aboutrika scored 4 goals for his national team Egypt in the African Cup of Nations Ghana 2008. He scored the winning goal against Cameroon in the final match, helping Egypt to win the African Cup of Nations for the second consecutive tournament. Aboutrika also scored a goal in the semi-final against Ivory Coast, and scored twice against Sudan in Egypt's group stage match.
Aboutrika scored a goal in the final match. In the previous tournament Egypt 2006, he scored the latest decisive penalty shootout in the final match against Ivory Coast to give Egypt the cup. With his team Al-Ahly of Egypt, Aboutrika was the hero of final matches again, through scoring a goal in the final match second leg both CAF Champions League 2006 and CAF Champions League 2005 helping his team lift the continental cup.
Aboutrika nominated the best player in the in Ghana 2008 final match.
FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifiers
After the friendly match against Argentina, Aboutrika had an injury which deprived him from being a member along the national team in the first 4 matches played in June, in FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifiers. He marked his national return against Congo DR in Kinshasa on September 7, 2008 scoring the winning goal for Egypt, to secure the Pharaohs' place in the second round of Qualifications. He scored another goal in his second match in the qualifiers against Djibouti.
Aboutrika has rehealed from injury in August, after missing the group stage start of CAF Champions League 2008 with his team Al-Ahly. He marked his first participation in the group stage scoring the winning goal for Al-Ahly on 93rd minute against Dynamos F.C. of Zimbabwe in a 8 round game ended 2-1 for the Egyptian side. On August 30, he helped Al-Ahly to grab the 3 points from Zimbabwe, after making the winning goal, scored by his favourite teammate Mohamed Barakat. Al-Ahly achieved 1-0 win. On September 14, Aboutrika scored the second goal for Al-Ahly against the rivals Al-Zamalek of Egypt, in a group game ended 2-2.
Aboutrika scored again in the final group match against ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast, a game ended 2-2 as Aboutrika netted the first goal for Al-Ahly. A draw sealed first place in Group A for Al-Ahly with 12 points from six matches while Dynamos of Zimbabwe joined them in the semi-finals of the 3.5-million-dollar competition..
Al Ahly of Egypt clashed with Enyimba of Nigeria in the semi-final, the first leg of which was held on October 5 in Aba, Nigeria, and ended with a draw 0-0. The second leg held on 18 October in Cairo and ended 1-0 for Al-Ahly.
Al Ahly faced Cotonsport Garoua of Cameroon in the final, the first leg of which was held on November 2 and ended 2-0 for the Egyptian side. Al Ahly drew 2-2 with Coton Sport in Cameroon to complete a 4-2 aggregate victory and lift the CAF Champions League trophy for a record sixth time; a result which ensured they will compete at the FIFA Club World Cup for the third time in four years.
BBC African Footballer of the Year 2008
Mohamed Aboutrika has been crowned the 2008 BBC African Footballer of the Year. He won after taking more than half of the total ballot.
Mohamed Aboutrika has been nominated for the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2008 due to his performance with the Egyptian National Team as well as Al-Ahly. Mohamed Aboutrika has been nomianted alongside teammate, Amr Zaki (Wigan Athletic, Egypt), Didier Drogba (Chelsea F.C., Cote d' Ivoire), Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona F.C., Cameroon), Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal F.C., Togo)..
African Footballer of the Year 2008
Mohamed Aboutrika (Al-Ahly, Egypt), Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal, Togo), Amr Zaki (Wigan Athletic, Egypt), Didier Drogba (Chelsea F.C., Côte d'Ivoire) and Michael Essien (Chelsea F.C., Ghana) make up the shortlist for the Glo-CAF African Footballer of the Year across the world..
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Wednesday in Lagos, Nigeria, announced the final shortlist of categories for the Glo-CAF Awards 2008. The final three for the title was decided following votes from the head coaches of the 53 national associations affiliated to CAF.
For the topmost honour, Glo-CAF Player of the Year across the world, the contenders are Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal and Togo), Michael Essien (Chelsea and Ghana) and Mohamed Aboutrika (Al-Ahly and Egypt).
The shortlist for the Glo-CAF Best Player on the Continent are Mohamed Aboutrika (Al-Ahly, Egypt), Ahmed Hassan (Al-Ahly, Egypt), Flavio Amado (Al-Ahly, Angola).
The winner of the two categories will be announced at the awards gala on February 10, in Lagos, Nigeria..
Confederations Cup 2009
Aboutrika was a member in Egypt football national team line-up in 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Egypt falls in Group B along with Brazil, Italy and USA.
Egypt started with Brazil on June 15, a game ended 4-3 for the Brazilian side. Aboutrika assisted Egypt's two goals, to his team mate Mohamed Zidan who scored twice.
The Italian sports journalist Gabriele Marcotti has also been highly impressed with Aboutrika's performance against Brazil, and praised Aboutrika's career with football in general.
“ He is possibly the greatest footballer in the history of the world with a bachelor's diploma in philosophy hanging on the wall of his sitting room. He is arguably the best footballer on Earth not playing his trade in Europe or South America. and Does staying in Egypt make him gutless and unambitious because he won't measure himself against the world's best on a regular basis? Or, in fact, should he be admired for remaining loyal to his homeland, simply being happy with what he has achieved and not feeling the need to chase the glamour and millions of the Premier League or La Liga?. ”
Egypt faced Italy on June 18, a game ended with a victory 1-0 for Egypt. Aboutrika assisted Egypt's goal, to his team mate Mohamed Soliman "Homos" who scored with a header.
FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifiers
On June 7, Aboutrika scored in Egypt's world cup qualifier against Algeria in Algeria but Egypt lost 3-1.
On July 4, Aboutrika played in Egypt's world cup qualifier against Rwanda in Egypt, helping the Egyptians win 3-0, and scored the first and the third goal, making the Egyptian team second after Algeria, in their group. Aboutrika reached his fifth goal in FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifiers.
Aboutrika is a graduate of Cairo University with a bachelor of arts degree in Philosophy.. He is married and has twins, Ahmed Seif and Roqaya.
After winning the title of African Champions League 2006 for Al-Ahly, he gave a declaration which had been chosen by many newspapers and programs as 'The Declaration of the year'. When newspapers reporters praised him and his goal which they considered the main reason for winning the tournament, he replied, "We need to stop this habit of praising a definite player. It isn't Aboutrika, but the whole team who got the Cup. Without the others' efforts, I can't ever make anything. Football is a game played by many players, it isn't Tennis or Squash."
Hassan El-Shazli, the former famous Egyptian player, was the first one to discover Aboutrika's talent and develop it. He narrates a story about Aboutrika's manners when he was in Tersana. He said that when the chairman of Tersana club wanted Aboutrika and a team-mate defender to sign their new contracts, he put a very high salary for Aboutrika compared to that of his team-mate but Aboutrika refused to sign, and insisted to take the same salary as his team-mate although it was much lower. El-Shazli's attempts failed to persuade Aboutrika that his role for the club is much greater than this defender, and finally, Aboutrika insisted on equality and signed his contract as lower as his team-mate.
As his soccer star status grew in Africa, he turned his sights to humanitarian issues. Aboutrika says:
“Every athlete has a humanitarian role in society. He doesn't live solely for himself, but for others too. I like to participate in charity work and try my best to help the poor and penniless. I'm also seeking to use soccer in humanitarian work."
Based on that idea, Aboutrika joined UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors the Brazilian player Ronaldo, and French player, Zinedine Zidane, in addition to 40 international soccer stars in 2005 for a ‘Match Against Poverty’ in Germany, with the aim of raising funds and increasing awareness about the issue worldwide. He scored in that match.
“In that humanitarian match, sports people said ‘no to poverty’ in one strong voice, standing up to beat it once and for all," Aboutrika explains. The match was held in Düsseldorf, Germany with the support of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association FIFA.
One of Aboutrika’s soccer role models, is the Egyptian player, Mahmoud El Khatib. Meanwhile, off the pitch he follows the example of the Prophet Mohammed.
He volunteered to appear in a WFP 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) in which he draws attention to the tragic fact that 25,000 people die from hunger every day, 18,000 of them children.
“Hunger takes away a child every five seconds. We have to move immediately and lend each other a hand because every second counts. This is a game we have to win,” Aboutrika said in the PSA. The PSA is being aired on Middle Eastern TV stations which are broadcasting it for free.
Aboutrika is a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger. He believes that poverty is a double-edged sword, as it can either give rise to feelings of despair, or help the poor person to persevere and be determined. Aboutrika wishes that all those who suffer from despair could develop determination and face their difficulties with strength.
"Islam deals with the problem of poverty through zakat (spending a fixed portion of one's wealth for the poor or needy), where the rich feel the plight of the poor," says Aboutrika. "We have to help the poor as much as we can so that they don’t feel alienated in their own society" he says.
Aboutrika volunteered for another PSA in Egypt, for helping children with cancer. He made it for free, and donated funds to help build a hospital for them.
In January 2007, Aboutrika led the Blood Donation Campaign held by Egyptian Ministry of Health. He appeared in PSAs for free and donated with his blood.
"Sympathize with Gaza"
After scoring a goal in Egypt's 3-0 over Sudan in the 2008 African Cup of Nations Aboutrika removed his jersey to show a T-shirt reading "Sympathize with Gaza". He was protesting against Israel's 10-day blockade of Gaza. He was given a yellow card for breaking FIFA's rule against displaying political slogans during play, and was said to face possible further sanctions, but finally CAF made no punishments.
Aboutrika initially did not want to discuss the issue, but he broke his silence and spoke exclusively Al Jazeera's Carrie Brown. He said that his action was a personal statement from himself, as he feels much sympathy for the children of Gaza Strip who are under siege. He feels sorry for their starving and suffering, and has many worries about their safety. Aboutrika affirmed for the Egyptian Football Federation that he is responsible for any problems appearing on surface. In the months and years since the Carrie Brown/Aboutrika interview, much has been made as to the true meanings of Aboutrika's statement.
Some Arab commentators describes this yellow card as a 'honourable punishment' for any athlete. In Gaza, Palestinian people went out, raising Aboutrika's photos thanking him and appreciating his act. The same scene was replied after the final match, when Aboutrika scored the winning goal for Egypt, many Palestinians went out to celebrate the victory and singing for Aboutrika. Al-Hilal club in the Gaza Strip made an honouring ceremony for Aboutrika where youth team players lift flags reading "Palestine loves Aboutrika ", "Aboutrika is my idol", "Aboutrika, the humanitarian player..Gaza won't forget you" and "Aboutrika, an example of freedom and dignity". Youth team players were wearing Aboutrika 's No22..
• Winner of African Cup of Nations Ghana 2008 playing for Egypt.
• Winner of African Cup of Nations Egypt 2006 playing for Egypt.
Club (Al Ahly)
• Bronze Medalist at FIFA Club World Cup 2006
• Winner of CAF Champions League (2005) , (2006) , (2008).
• Winner of Egyptian League : (2004–2005) , (2005–2006) , (2006–2007) , (2007–2008),(2008–2009), (2009–2010).
• Winner of African Super Cup (2006), (2007), (2009).
• Winner of Egyptian Soccer Cup (2006) , (2007).
• Winner of Egyptian Super Cup (2005) , (2006) , (2007) , (2008) , (2010).
• Came 2nd in the 2008 CAF African Footballer of the Year award.
• Nominated for the 2006 CAF African Footballer of the Year award.
• Winner of the 2008 BBC African Footballer of the Year award.
• Nominated for the 2006 BBC African Footballer of the Year award.
• Winner of the 2008 CAF Best African player in Club Competitions.
• Winner of the 2006 CAF Best African player in Club Competitions.
• The World's most Popular Footballer amongst active Players in 2008 (IFFHS).
• The World's most Popular Footballer amongst active Players in 2007 (IFFHS).
• Top scorer in the FIFA Club World Cup 2006 with 3 goals.
• Top scorer in the CAF Champions League 2006 with 8 goals.
• Top scorer in the Egyptian League (2005–2006) with 18 goals.
• Top scorer in the Egyptian Soccer Cup (2007) with 4 goals.
• Best Player in Egypt (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008).
• Named in the CAF Starting XI in the CAN Egypt 2006.
• Named in the CAF Starting XI in the CAN Ghana 2008.
• Named in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup dream team((top 11 player)).
• Man of the final match in the 2008 African Cup of Nations after scoring the winning goal.