After playing in his country for two clubs and with Al-Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, he went on to spend several seasons in Spain with Osasuna, appearing in 112 official games.
An Iranian international since 2004, Shojaei represented his country in two World Cups and three Asian Cups.
Shojaei was born in Shiraz, and lived most of his life in Abadan and Tehran. He started his career with Sanat Naft F.C. before moving to Saipa F.C. of Karaj in the Iran Pro League; having signed at the age of 19, he went on to play three seasons with the latter.
After the 2006 World Cup, Shojaei moved to the United Arab Emirates and signed for Al Sharjah SC. He scored his first goal for the club in the League on 3 October, against Al-Emarat.
On 23 June 2008, after previous attempts from VfL Wolfsburg in Germany and Italy's S.S.C. Napoli, Shojaei signed with Spanish side CA Osasuna for three years, teaming up with compatriot Javad Nekounam. The deal included a €6 million buyout clause for the first 18 months of his contract, being reduced to €3.5 million for the remainder of his stay.
Shojaei made his La Liga debut on 31 August 2008, playing 32 minutes in a 1–1 home draw against Villarreal CF. During his first two seasons he appeared almost always as a substitute, as the Navarrese managed to maintain its division status; the player remained a regular even after the coaching change at the club, as José Ángel Ziganda was replaced by José Antonio Camacho.
Shojaei – who was addressed by his first name during his spell in Spain – appeared regularly again for Osasuna in the 2010–11 campaign, but also spent one month at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup with his national team. In late May he renewed his contract with the club for another two seasons, also having the option of an annual renewal of his link.
Shojaei spent the entire 2011–12 on the sidelines, due to injury. On 25 February 2013, in only his fourth appearance since returning, he scored a stunning goal to help Osasuna win it 2–0 at Levante UD.
Despite a solid start to his spell, Shojaei was eventually released in June 2013. Shortly after, he was linked with a move to fellow league club Real Valladolid, but nothing came of it.
On 3 September 2013, Shojaei moved clubs but stayed in Spain, joining Segunda División side UD Las Palmas on a one-year contract. He found the net in his debut, in a 3–1 away success over CE Sabadell FC for the campaign's Copa del Rey.
Shojaei scored twice and provided an assist in the first half of the league fixture against the same opponent on 15 March 2014, in an eventual 5–0 home win.
After the 2014 World Cup, Shojaei turned down an offer from Real Zaragoza and moved to Al-Shahania Sports Club in the Qatar Stars League. On 22 July 2016, he joined Superleague Greece side Panionios F.C. on a one-year deal.
Shojaei enjoyed a successful first season at the latter club, and subsequently extended his contract until June 2018.
Whilst at Saipa, Shojaei earned a place in Iranian national under-23 team, catching the eye of full side coach Branko Ivanković. He was first called up to play for the latter in November 2004, for a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Laos – it was the only cap he would win until the training camp prior to the finals in Germany, held in Switzerland; he was included in the final squad but only appeared once in the tournament, replacing injured Mohammad Nosrati in the early minutes of the 1–1 draw against Angola.
Shojaei began appearing more regularly in the 2010 World Cup qualification stages, scoring in a 1–1 draw against South Korea in the final game. However, Team Melli did not qualify for the tournament in South Africa. Iran did manage to reach the 2014 World Cup, with Shojaei as a regular starter in the qualifiers.
On 1 June 2014, Shojaei was included in Carlos Queiroz's list for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He appeared as a substitute in the team's opening draw with Nigeria, and was selected in the starting line-up for the following group matches against Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On 30 December 2014, Shojaei was called into Iran's 2015 AFC Asian Cup squad. He scored the nation's second goal in its opening 2–0 defeat of Bahrain, in Melbourne.
On 10 August 2017, Shojaei was banned from the national team along with teammate Ehsan Hajsafi, for playing with their club Panionios against Israeli's Maccabi Tel Aviv FC.
Shojaei expressed support for the Iranian Green Movement on 17 June 2009, when he wore a green bracelet against South Korea in a World Cup 2010 qualifier along with five other players. During the match, he also wore a green undershirt previewing a possible goal celebration.
Shojaei discussed corruption in Iranian football in an interview with Radio Farda, and also spoke out against child sexual abuses in December 2016. He was subsequently summoned to the Ethics Committee of the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran.
A vocal advocate of lifting stadium ban for women in Iran, Shojaei openly expressed his regret that his mother, sister and wife were unable to see him play. He reportedly called for repealing the ban, when he met with president Hassan Rouhani in July 2017.As of 28 August 2017
As of 7 June 2016
(Iran score listed first, score column indicates score after each Shojaei goal)