Shikabala made his debut for Zamalek in a cup match early in 2002, and scored the winning goal aged only 16. He remained with the first team squad since then but had very limited playing time and no professional contract, which is why he was able to leave Zamalek and join PAOK in January 2005 for no transfer fee. He enjoyed two relatively successful seasons with PAOK before returning to Zamalek due to rude actions with coach.
Shikabala returned to Egypt in January 2007 amidst huge controversy where he signed for arch rivals Al Ahly before chairman Mamdouh Abbas and teammate Gamal Hamza convinced him to return to Zamalek instead. Shikabala enjoyed a phenomenal start with Zamalek scoring once again on his second debut for the club the winner in a 1-0 match. Shika quickly carved a place for himself in Henri Michel's starting line-up gradually replacing club legend and fans' idol Hazem Emam. On 2 July 2007, Shikabala scored his first goal in the derby against Al Ahly in the cup final which ended 4-3 for Al Ahly.
By the start of the 2007-2008 season Shikabala had already become the ultimate fan favorite for the curva sud section which belongs to the Zamalek supporters. The fans sang his name before every game and had special chants solely for him. He enjoyed a mixed season where Zamalek struggled in the league, and he faced a lengthy ban after Al Ahly fans chanted profanities against him in the 100th Cairo derby leading to him responding by lifting his shoes to them. He finished the season on a brighter note though as Zamalek finished as cup winners which was the club's first trophy in 4 years.
Shikabala missed the start of the 2008-2009 season due to a ban by FIFA for his illegal transfer to Zamalek. He returned in late November in fine form but once again Zamalek endured an uninspiring season and finished 6th in the league. The following season was no different until Zamalek appointed Hossam Hassan in December 2009 who gradually lifted the team from obscurity into consistently challenging for trophies once again. Under the guidance of Hassan, Shikabala finally matured as a player and started to live up to his potential. Before that he was very inconsistent and despite scoring fantastic goals and making fancy dribbles, used to drift in an out of games and was largely ineffective at times.
In 2010-2011, Shikabala and Hassan led Zamalek to the top of the table for the first time in years. Zamalek would stay on the top until the closing stages of the season where they crumbled and Al Ahly ended up as the league winners for the 7th season in a row, despite that Shikabala finished the season as top scorer with 13 goals and had two magical assists against Al Ahly in the derby.
Shikabala has been Zamalek fans' number one idol and the team's biggest star since returning to the team in 2007. The ultras adore him and the management refused numerous offers for him notably from Anderlecht and made him the highest paid player in the history of Egypt. Shika has been famous for lack of discipline but the management always spoiled him as the fans adore him and the entire team is built around him. But his latest act of indiscipline was against former coach and club icon Hassan Shehata when he inexplicably had an altercation with him after being substituted. Shehata decided to freeze him out of the squad and asked to have him sold immediately, though the Zamalek board has been hesitant so far and are trying to find a solution to keep Shikabala with Zamalek.
On June 27, 2012, Zamalek had agreed to a loan offer from Italian Serie A side Napoli for 1.8 million Euros (13.5 million Egyptian pounds). The loan deal would last one year, with the option to permanently sign Shikabala after the 2012-13 season. A few days later, Napoli failed to comment on the deal and this sparked controversy. Napoli stated that they only have interest in the player but they hadn't made a formal offer while the Napoli coach stated they know nothing about the deal. Reports in the Italian media revealed that this is just another rumour that even Italian mercato expert Gianluca Di Marzio has called it an "April fool that is two months late". Zamalek then stated that Napoli had failed to send agent to Cairo to officially sign Shikabala on the agreed upon deadline and the deal fell through. There was still speculation over whether Napoli would send an official offer for Shikabala throughout the 2012 summer transfer window. Several reports stated that Qatari Lekhwiya SC, Saudi Al Shabab and Ittihad Jeddah, Romanian Vaslui, German VfB Stuttgart, Spanish Espanyol, Napoli and their Italian counterparts Udinese were all battling for Shikabala's signature.
In late July, Emirate side Al Wasl offered 600,000 Euros for a one-year loan offer for Shikabala, however Zamalek refused the bid asking for $1.5 million US. After long negotiations between Zamalek and Al Wasl, Shikabala was officially loaned to Al Wasl for one year at a fee of $1.25 million US. Shikabala had chosen the number 10, the number he previously had at Zamalek. On his unofficial debut in a friendly match against Omani club side Al Shabab, he assisted both of Al Wasl's goals in a 2-2 draw. His official debut was against Ittihad Kalba in the Emirates Cup where he put in a man of the match performance in 4-2 win for Al Wasl. He scored from a free-kick in the second half and assisted for 2 other goals. On his league debut against Al-Wahda, he scored one and assisted one in Al Wasl's 4-1 win. He also netted against Ajman in a 2-0 win, scoring a very nice second goal. After former Al-Wasl coach Bruno Metsu stepped down from coaching Al Wasl due to stomach cancer, Shikabala scored the game right after his resignation against Al Dhafra and he immediately went to a picture of Metsu on the sides and kissed the picture of Metsu on the cheek, then patting the "get well soon" message on the board. Shikabala's tribute to Metsu earned the praise of Al Wasl fans, and Emirate people and media.
However, it wasn't long after that when Shikabala started his first controversy with the club. After a smashing 5-0 loss to fellow league club Al Ain, Shikabala appeared a few days later with Egyptian super star singer Tamer Hosny, during one of his concerts in the UAE. This caused the rage of many Al Wasl fans and the disappointment of the club's board, especially this came right after the worst defeat for the club that season.
Shikabala continued as one of the teams stars as he picked up an assist in almost every match he played. In a match against Bani Yas, which had fellow Egyptian star Mohamed Zidan in their ranks. Shikabala scored in the 1-3 loss to Bani Yas and oddly enough, both players left the match with serious injuries. Shikabala was left out for a month with a thigh injury. Shikabala travelled to Egypt to get his treatment back home but he failed to return to Dubai on time when he was supposed to. The club was very angry and disappointed with his late return, which came after days after his expected return. After weeks of speculation and rumors, Al Wasl had ended Shika's loan contract from Zamalek.
Upon his controversial return form Al Wasl, Shikabala was unable to play for Zamalek for the rest of the 2012-13 season as his loan move outside of CAF restricted him from playing again for Zamalek until the following season, as he should have still be playing in the UAE for the rest of the 2012-13 season. On 29 March 2013, English side Nottingham Forest Club president Fawaz Al-Hasawi expressed great interest in signing the player in summer 2013.
Even though Shikabala was unable to play for the club, the Zamalek board had demanded that he train with the team but head coach Jorvan Vieira had refused since he didn't want someone in the team's training "that would not be able to play." As of 1 July 2013, Shikabala's loan from Al Wasl would have ended and will be able to play for Zamalek once more. Shikabala made his return debut on 24 July 2013 CAF Champions League match against Al Ahly in the 57th minute. He would go on to play all 6 matches in the group stage of the Champions League scoring 2 goals and assisting 2 goals. Zamalek would then participate in the 2013 Egypt Cup. Playing the full 90 minutes in all 4 matches, Shikabala would lead Zamalek to the cup title after a 3-0 win against Wadi Degla. Shikabala made 4 assists and scored 1 goal, which was the final goal of the 3-0 win in the final from a wonderfully taken free-kick from over 30 yards out, in the tournament. 10 games after returning from Al Wasl, Shikabala scored 3 goals and made 6 assists.
As the 2013–14 Egyptian Premier League season was approaching in late December 2013, Shikabala caused yet more controversy by not showing up for training and threatening to terminate his contract with Zamalek unless he was paid his late wages over the past 3 years (from January 2011 to January 2014), which all accumulated to about 5.5 million Egyptian Pounds (almost 791,000 US dollars). On 5 January 2014, Shikabala officially terminated his contract with Zamalek as the Zamalek board were unable to both pay his late wages and convince him to stay at the club. Many of the Zamalek fans were angry with Shikabala's abrupt departure. There were many rumours however linking Shikabala to many clubs in Europe after putting fine displays for Zamalek over the years and during his loan spell at Al Wasl. After weeks of speculation between resigning for Zamalek or leaving, Shikabala, due to his love for his boyhood club, decided to sign with Zamalek and leave through the club so that Zamalek can benefit financially from his sale to help solve the financial problems the club was facing. The Zamalek board agreed to sell Shikabala at the end of the January transfer window for the proper price.
On 29 January 2014, it was announced that Shikabala signed for the Portuguese club Sporting CP for 700,000 dollars and would travel the following day to Lisbon to complete a medical and officially sign with the club. In the final hours of the January transfer window, there were several problems with the negotiations between Shikabala, Sporting, and Zamalek but with 3 minutes remaining in the transfer window, they finally agreed to a deal of 700,000 US dollars in addition to 5% of any future sale if Sporting decide to sell Shikabala to another club. Shikabala decided to wear the number 7 jersey in Sporting.
Shikabala made his first appearance for the reserve team on 16 February 2014 against Tondela. He started the match but was substituted 28 minutes into the game after picking up a minor ankle injury.
Shikabala made very few appearances for the team and was benched for a huge amount of the following season, only making a few appearances for the reserve team and one appearance in the first team.
His most notable contribution was his goal against Azores XI during the Pedro Pauleta Trophy, ending the tournament with a 2-1 for Sporting CP and smashing the record number of live viewers through the club’s official website.
His Portuguese representative, Paulo Faria, made a lot of negative remarks about his behavior since their friendly match with Ittihad Alexandria in early August 2014. The club have since issued a statement on their website, defending Shikabala.
In September 2014, Shikabala went to Egypt to play for his national team, since then he did not return to Sporting or to Portugal. His salary was frozen and his house and car were taken due to lack of payments.
On 27 August 2015, Zamalek officially signed 'Shikabala' after his unsuccessful attempt with Portuguese side Sporting. "Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour has approved a five-season contract deal with the player," the club's official website stated. He was loaned to Egyptian league side Ismaily SC as there was no place for the player in Zamalek's closed squad.
The loan was over by the end of 2015, and He officially returned to Zamalek SC as the team captain.
Shikabala has never been a vital part of the national team. He was part of Egypt's squad in the 2010 African Cup of Nations featuring only in one match as Egypt ended up as winners for the 7th time and 3rd in a row. On August 8, 2012 he was called up by Bob Bradley for the friendly matches against Brazil, Benin and Cameroon. He decided to resign from international football in 2010, citing racist insults that he has endured in the Egyptian context (from Al Ahly fans) and that he did not want to confront in an international one. This, combined with inconsistent performances earlier in his career and issues around discipline, is understood to be the reason why he does not have an international career that would be expected of a player of his calibre.Zamalek
Egyptian Premier League: 2002-03, 2003-04
Egypt Cup: 2002 , 2008, 2013, 2016
Egyptian Super Cup: 2016
CAF Super Cup: 2003
Arab Champions Cup: 2003
African Cup of Nations: 2010
World Military Cup: 2007
Egyptian Premier League top goalscorer: 2010–11 (Shared with Ahmed Abd El-Zaher)