Aboutrika bides his time
Considered one of the best players in Egypt and Africa as a whole, Mohamed Aboutrika has spoken with FIFA.com about his recent performances and the prospect of moving to Europe.
The 31-year-old playmaker first came to prominence in 2004 when he moved to Al Ahly, where he soon emerged as the superstar of the Cairo giants, leading them to five consecutive domestic titles and three CAF Champions League triumphs. Many pundits believed it was only a matter of time before the talented midfielder made the move to Europe, especially after his impressive performance in the 2008 CAF African Cup of Nations. However, Aboutrika has stayed put, and he explained why in an exclusive chat with FIFA.com.
"I haven't made a move to Europe or elsewhere because I haven't received any good offers," the 31-year-old admitted candidly. "All the offers that I received were not up to my expectations and were not good for Al Ahly either. However, if anything positive comes in the next period, then I will give it a lot of thought before making the decision to move."
Aboutrika's performances here in South Africa against Brazil and Italy have been impressive, and contrast starkly with the disappointing displays he produced with Al Ahly in last year's FIFA Club World Cup. Those lacklustre showings in Japan were viewed as a major opportunity missed for the playmaker, and he makes no attempt to downplay his own disappointment.
"The performances and the results of Al Ahly in the Club World Cup were not as we expected generally," he conceded. "That is probably one of the reasons why I didn't produce good performances in that tournament. I was also going through a difficult period at that time and I had to fight in order to recover my form. But in South Africa, God has helped me a lot and I'm going into each game fully focused."
A player who has earned admiration for his conduct and lifestyle off the field, Aboutrika, a renowned family man, insists his behaviour should not be considered remarkable. Instead, he considers himself to be merely adhering to values that are, or should be, universal.
"I'm a normal person just like other people," he added. "I take a lot of care of my family, whether I'm with my wife, my kids or my parents. They deserve a lot of my attention whenever I'm not on the pitch."