Brahimi started his career throughout various clubs in the Île-de-France region, having trained at ASB Montreuil and CO Vincennois. In 2003, he was selected to attend the Clairefontaine academy. Brahimi spent three years at the academy and, upon leaving, signed with Stade Rennais F.C.. While in the club's youth academy, he achieved several club honours. After turning professional, Brahimi was loaned out to second division club Clermont Foot. While at Clermont, he had a successful individual 2009–10 season. After spending the previous season there on loan, he moved to the La Liga club Granada CF in 2013, and then to Porto for €6.5 million a year later.
An Algerian international, Brahimi is a former France youth international having represented the country at all youth levels. In 2009, he played on the under-19 team that reached the semi-finals at the 2009 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. In February 2013, Brahimi switched his international allegiance to Algeria and made his debut for them a month later, also playing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Brahimi was born in Paris to Algerian parents and grew up in the eastern suburbs of Paris in Montreuil in Seine-Saint-Denis. While growing up, he often emulated Zinedine Zidane while playing street football with friends. Brahimi began his football career playing for his local club ASB Montreuil. After a four-year stint there, he joined CO Vincennois, known for producing Ligue 1 player Blaise Matuidi, in nearby Vincennes. Two years later, Brahimi was selected to attend the renowned Clairefontaine academy in order to further his development. While training at Clairefontaine during the week, he regularly played for Vincennois on the weekends. In his final year at Clairefontaine, Brahimi spent a year at the Camp des Loges, the youth training center of Paris Saint-Germain, training alongside youth international teammate Mamadou Sakho. Despite being courted by several French and European clubs, following his stint at Clairefontaine, he signed an aspirant (youth) contract with Rennes. In October 2010, Brahimi cited choosing Rennes as his destination because of the club's educational value stating "In Rennes, the academy gives much importance to the schoolwork" and "It was a warranty for my parents. They advised me to choose Stade Rennes. That way, I could continue my football training while preparing my Baccalauréat".
Brahimi joined Rennes and quickly became a part of a slew of talent in the club's youth academy. He joined Damien Le Tallec, the younger brother of Anthony Le Tallec, Yann M'Vila, Yohann Lasimant, Kévin Théophile-Catherine, and Samuel Souprayen as the club's most sought after prospects. The combination of M'Vila, Brahimi, Camara, and Le Tallec, all four being members of the class of 1990, were particularly instrumental in their youth team's successes. With the under-16 team, the foursome won the Tournoi Carisport, a national tournament that regularly pits the top academies in France against each other. Two seasons later with the under-18 team, Brahimi won the under-18 league championship for the 2006–07 season. In 2008, the youth academy achieved its biggest honour after winning the Coupe Gambardella. The title was Rennes' third Gambardella Cup and its first since 2003 when the likes of Yoann Gourcuff and Sylvain Marveaux were playing in the competition. Following the 2007–08 season, on 23 June, Brahimi signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three-year deal until June 2011. Though on a professional contract, Brahimi was not assigned a number on the senior team and instead played on the club's Championnat de France amateur team in the fourth division appearing in 22 matches and scoring three goals helping the side finish 1st among professional clubs in their group, thus qualifying for the competition's playoffs, where they lost to Lyon in the semi-finals.
Following a successful international season with France, Rennes decided it would be best to send the young player on loan to receive some much needed playing time. On 3 July 2009, the club announced that Brahimi would join Ligue 2 club Clermont Foot on loan for the entire 2009–10 season. Brahimi arrived at the club following the 2009 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, alongside fellow loanee from Juventus Carlo Vecchione, and was assigned the number 28 shirt. He made his professional debut on the opening match day of the season appearing as a substitute in a 2–1 defeat to Arles-Avignon. He scored his first goal for the club on 25 September converting a penalty in the club's 3–2 win over Angers. Brahimi's first goal in open play occurred on 4 December in Clermont's 3–1 win away to Bastia. Two weeks later, he scored again, converting another penalty in a 1–1 draw with Guingamp.
On 23 March 2010, Brahimi scored the opening goal in Clermont's 3–0 win over Ajaccio. Three days later, he scored a goal and provided an assist in a 3–1 away victory over Istres. A month later, Brahimi converted his third penalty of the season in a 3–2 victory over Dijon. The win moved Clermont up to 4th position in the league standings and just three points off a promotion place. The following week, Brahimi continued to display his offensive prowess scoring against Le Havre. The match, however, ended negatively for Clermont as the club lost 2–1. It was the club's first defeat in a match where Brahimi had scored a goal. Three days later, Brahimi scored his eight goal of the campaign in a 3–1 victory against Guingamp. The victory established a promotion playoff match on the final match day of the season as 4th placed Clermont faced 3rd-placed Arles-Avignon with the victory earning promotion to Ligue 1. Unfortunately for Clermont, the club failed to earn promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in club history as it lost the match 1–0. Brahimi played 89 minutes in the match receiving a yellow card in the process.
Following the season, on 15 May 2010, Rennes manager Frédéric Antonetti confirmed that Brahimi would return to the team, despite interest from English club Arsenal and Spanish club Real Madrid, and that he would be heavily relied upon for the 2010–11 season possibly serving as the playmaker replacing the aging Jérôme Leroy. On 7 August 2010, Brahimi made his club debut for Rennes in the club's opening league match against Lille. He started the match and played 71 minutes in a 1–1 draw. The following day, Rennes announced that Brahimi had signed a four-year contract extension with the club. The new deal will keep him at the club until June 2014.
On 14 August 2010, Brahimi scored his first career goal for the club in a 3–0 victory over Nancy. For a portion of the fall season, the play-maker underwent a dry spell not scoring a goal or providing an assist. As a result, Brahimi began rotating in and out of the starting lineup. After the winter break, Brahimi returned to form scoring and providing an assist in the team's 7–0 hammering of Championnat National club Cannes in the Coupe de France. A week later, he scored a double in a 4–0 league win over Arles-Avignon. On 5 February 2011, Brahimi scored a goal against his former youth club Paris Saint-Germain. The long-range driven goal was the only goal of the match as the victory moved Rennes equal on points with Paris Saint-Germain for second place.
On 30 August 2012, Brahimi signed on loan for Granada CF of La Liga for €700,000, with the option to sign for €4 million afterwards. This option was taken on 4 June 2013, when he signed a four-year deal at the club. At the LFP Awards, he was voted the best African player of the 2013–14 season.
On 22 July 2014, FC Porto announced the signing of Brahimi from Granada CF for a fee of €6.5 million in 5-year contract. On 24 July 2014 Porto sold 80% of his economic rights to Doyen Sports for €5 million. The deals effectively made Porto acquired 20% economic rights of the player for €1.5 million.
His first goal for the club came in the second leg of their Champions League play-off against Lille, netting directly from a free-kick as Porto advanced to the group stage with a 3–0 aggregate victory. He scored his first hat-trick for the club in Porto's first match of the Champions League group stage, a 6–0 home win over BATE Borisov on 17 September. In their next European fixture, he had his penalty saved by Andriy Pyatov with the game goalless at Shakhtar Donetsk. He scored his first league goal against C.D. Nacional in a 2–0 win on 1 November. On 5 November, Brahimi scored one goal and assisted another as Porto defeated Athletic 2–0 to secure qualification to the knock-out stage of the Champions League.
On 26 June 2015 Porto bought back 30% economic rights from Doyen for €3.8 million.
Brahimi scored one goal as Porto defeated Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2-0 in the group stage of 2015–16 UEFA Champions League.
As early as the age of 13, Brahimi began featuring with regional youth teams playing for Île-de-France alongside future youth international teammates Mamadou Sakho, Tripy Makonda, Maxime Partouche, and Sébastien Corchia. Brahimi made his debut for the under-16 team on 21 March 2006 converting a penalty in a 3–1 victory over Germany. He played with the under-16 team at the 2006 edition of the Montaigu Tournament playing in all four matches the team contested as France were crowned champions defeating Italy 2–1 in the final. With the under-17 team, Brahimi made his debut on 25 September in a qualification match for the 2007 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship against Lithuania. France won the match 4–2 with Brahimi making a substitute appearance. Despite appearing in the first round of qualification, Brahimi was absent from the tournament itself, due to the player struggling to adapt at his new club domestically. He later failed to make the team that qualified for the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was achieved by virtue of their semi-final appearance in the UEFA-sanctioned tournament. Brahimi made his debut with the under-18 team on 18 December 2007 in a friendly match against Portugal in a 1–0 loss and later featured in two friendly matches against Germany, one of which was played at the GAZi-Stadion auf der Waldau in Stuttgart.
With the under-19 team, Brahimi appeared in all 19 matches scoring 12 goals. He was immense during the 2009 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship qualification scoring a team-leading five goals against Liechtenstein, Malta, and the Republic of Ireland netting two goals each against the Liechtenstein and the hosts. Brahimi also scored several goals in friendly matches. On 30 March 2009, he scored a goal against the Ukraine and, the following month, scored a brace against Finland in a 7–0 rout. At the 2009 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, Brahimi scored two goals; one against Serbia and another against Spain. The game-winning goal against Spain assured France's progression to the semi-finals where they lost to England.
Brahimi is also eligible to represent Algeria at international level. Following a successful season with Clermont, he was contacted by the Fédération Algérienne de Football who offered the player an opportunity to play on the team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Brahimi was set to be named to manager Rabah Saadane's preliminary squad list for the competition, but turned down the opportunity with his preference being to continue his international career with France. On 12 May 2010, after almost a year not representing France internationally, Brahimi was called up to the under-20 team by coach Patrick Gonfalone to participate in the 2010 Toulon Tournament. In the team's second group stage match against Japan, Brahimi scored the final goal in the team's 4–1 victory. He played in all five of the team's matches as France finished in third place.
On 26 August 2010, Brahimi was called up to the under-21 team by coach Erick Mombaerts for the first time for 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification matches against the Ukraine and Malta. He made his under-21 debut in the match against Malta. Brahimi played the entire match in a 2–0 victory. He, subsequently, featured in the team's three matches before dropping out of the selection for the team's friendly match against Slovakia in February 2011 due to injury.
In February 2013, it was announced that Brahimi had decided to switch his FIFA national allegiance to represent Algeria. He made his debut a month later as a starter in the 3–1 win over Benin in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
On 22 June 2014, Brahimi scored his first international goal, the fourth for Algeria as they won 4–2 against South Korea in the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He started all of Algeria's group matches, and was a substitute in the Last 16 as they lost in extra time to eventual champions Germany.
Brahimi was also in Algeria's squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. In their first group game, against South Africa, his cross was headed in for an equaliser as an own goal for Thulani Hlatshwayo as Algeria came from behind to win 3–1. In their next game, he was chosen as Man of the Match, although the team lost 0–1 to Ghana. Brahimi featured in their next two matches as well, ending with defeat in the quarter-finals against eventual champions the Ivory Coast.
Described as "Technically gifted player", Brahimi is known for his great dribbling abilities and ability to take on players. Described by many coaches and journalists as a "Versatile winger that is unpredictable". Brahimi has earned himself the name as a great dribbler and a winger with pace and skill, earning himself the 2014 BBC African player of the year.
Brahimi is a non practicing Muslim.As of 21 May 2017
As of 2 September 2017
Scores and results list Algeria's goal tally first.
Coupe Gambardella: 2008
PortoRunner-up Taça de Portugal:2015–16
LFP Awards Best African player: 2013–14
BBC African Footballer of the Year: 2014
CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year: 2014
CAF Team of the Year : 2014, 2015
DZFoot d'Or: 2014
Algerian Ballon d'or: 2014
Algerian Olympic and Sports Awards :best Algerian athletes of the year 2014
Primeira Liga Goal of the month: October/November 2015 vs C.D. Tondela
Primeira Liga Goal of the month: October 2016 vs F.C. Arouca