Starting in his homeland with spells at Al-Mudhaibi and Al-Nasr, Ali moved to Norwegian club Lyn Oslo in 2003.
Named the Norwegian Player of the Year in 2004, he made over 70 appearances for the club before a move to Premier League Bolton Wanderers in January 2006.
Ali had to wait until September 2007 to make his debut, against Fulham in the League Cup, with his second appearance coming in the UEFA Cup against Bayern Munich that November.
A Premier League bow came against Wigan in March 2008 and he played 18 times before a move to the Latics on loan for the 2010/11 campaign. With 34 top-flight appearances to his name, he was voted the club’s Player of the Season and penned a permanent deal that July.
Having played over 150 games for Wigan he moved to Championship side Reading in July 2015, and his second season the side reach the Championship Play-Off final against Huddersfield Town.
While the game ended in disappointment, there was some consolation for Ali as he was named in the division’s Team of the Season and voted Reading’s Player of the Year.
That July the Oman international moved to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal before a return to England in August 2019, where he signed a deal until the end of the season with West Bromwich Albion.