Although regarded by many as one of the greatest footballers produced by Africa, the 34-year has never played for a European club, preferring seven-time African champions Al-Ahly for most of his career. An attacking midfielder in the twilight of a career that has brought many individual and team honours, Aboutrika still dreams of a first appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
Egypt have already won Group G with five consecutive victories, giving them an unassailable five-point lead over Guinea ahead of the final mini-league fixture at Red Sea resort El-Gouna. The Pharaohs are set to advance to a two-leg play-off during October and November, with the winners qualifying for Brazil.
Aboutrika has been voted CAF Africa-based Footballer of the Year three times and was a key figure when Egypt won the 2006 and 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations titles. He has criticised Egyptian journalists for praising individual players, stressing that football is a team game.
"We need to stop this habit of praising a definite player. It is not Aboutrika who won the match, but the whole team," he said. "Without the efforts of my team-mates, I cannot make anything. Football is a game of many players, it is not tennis or squash."
Former Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan is the most capped footballer with 184 national team appearances, six more than retired Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Deayea.