Goal.com 50: Mohamed Aboutrika (45)

We now count down the top 50 players of 2008-09 and at No. 45 is Egyptian star play maker and Al Ahly stalwart Mohamed Aboutrika…
  46. John Terry (Chelsea & England)

45. MOHAMED ABOUTRIKA (Al-Ahly & Egypt)

44. Arjen Robben (Real Madrid & Netherlands)

Compared to last season’s overall performance, Mohamed Aboutrika did not reach the heights that he did for club and country, but it was still an impressive campaign for one of the Egypt’s most popular and talented players.

The attacking star remains the most important Egyptian player of the current generation. His performances near the end of his country’s domestic league season helped his club, Al-Ahly, to lift the championship once again, finishing off the season in the best of way possible following the disappointment of the African Champions League, in which the side were eliminated by Angolan opposition in a competition they usually dominate.

When his club were trailing Gaish by a goal on the final day of the season and needed a win to force a play-off against rivals Ismaily, onlookers were not surprised when it was 'the Smiling Assassin' who answered the call. Aside from the league title, Aboutrika also won the African Super Cup with Al Ahly in a one off match earlier in the season against Tunisian side Club Sportif Sfaxien, triumphing 2-1.

This player combines elegance, grace, vision, and a killer eye for goal. He is just as important for Al-Ahly as he is for Egypt, with whom he has lifted successive African Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2008. The year has been one of mixed fortunes for the Pharaohs, with whom Aboutrika has been involved in World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifiers, as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup, which was held in South African last month.

Egypt have struggled in the qualifiers over this past year, with the first two results being a loss and a draw, leaving them in a difficult position in Group 3, with Algeria topping the standings on seven points and Zambia placed second on four points.

The skilful attacking midfielder is a key element of the World Cup charge, and in their last qualifier, which was played against Rwanda at the weekend, the Egyptians left it late. Aboutrika struck twice, scoring in the 65th minute to open his account before adding a second in the 90th minute to complete a 3-0 win.


At His Best | Aboutrika celebrates a goal for Al-Ahly

With the victory over Rwanda thanks to fine leadership and goals from Aboutrika, Egypt signalled their intentions to the other teams in the group, moving to four points, with only three points now dividing them from Algeria in top spot.

In contrast to the country’s struggles in World Cup qualifying, Egypt’s run in the Confederations Cup was a memorable affair. Aboutrika was a big part of their impressive performances in South Africa, helping his country to a close 4-3 loss to eventual champions Brazil and a record breaking 1-0 win over world champions Italy, making the Egyptians the first African side to beat the Azzurri.

Aboutrika’s assist to Mohamed Homos in the Pharaohs’ famous win versus the Italians has only added to his legend, with more assists in the Brazil game making him one of the stand-out players in the competition.

On a personal note, earlier this season Aboutrika received the award of the Best Arabic player of the Year from Algerian sports newspaper Le Buteur. His heroics in the Confederations Cup, added to a good season with Al Ahly, allow him to make Goal.com’s list at No. 45.

2008–09 HONOURS

Al Ahly
Egyptian League 2009
CAF Super Cup 2009

Individual
Best Arabic player of the Year 2008

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com

46. John Terry (Chelsea & England)

45. MOHAMED ABOUTRIKA (Al-Ahly & Egypt)

44. Arjen Robben (Real Madrid & Netherlands)