Introduction

A hat trick is one of the biggest achievements that a player can do on a soccer field. To score three goals in a single game can make legends out of players. For Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, or Pele a hat trick is more than common; for others it can be a once in a lifetime achievement that usually puts them into the record books. In this article we will review the history of the hat trick in soccer, and some records for players who kept the match ball, as is traditional when scoring a hat trick!

What is a hat trick in soccer?

In soccer a hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals in a single game. It does not matter what the player’s position is or if the team wins or loses —all that matters is that a player puts the ball in the back of the net three times. 

Where does the term hat trick come from? 

The term hat trick comes from magic of all places, and it refers to the action of pulling objects or animals out of a hat. It was the worldwide appeal of soccer around the world that has led to the term to gain popularity. The first time the term hat trick was used it was in 1858 in a cricket match.

What does “the perfect hat trick” mean?

A perfect hat trick refers to when a player scores one goal with their right foot, one with their left foot, and one header goal. Two years ago USMNT star Christian Pulisic scored a perfect hat trick against Burnley in a 4-2 Chelsea victory in the Premier League. Cristiano Ronaldo has also scored perfect hat tricks in his career, as well as Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

Who was the first player to score a hat trick?

The first soccer player to ever score a hat trick, oddly enough, was an American and it was in the first ever FIFA World Cup in 1930. The World Cup was held in Uruguay, and there Bert Patenaude scored the first hat trick in soccer history against Paraguay as the United States claimed a 3-0 victory.

Who has the most hat tricks in the soccer history

Scoring a hat trick is very hard, but imagine being able to score multiple hat tricks and keeping the match ball on more than 10, 20, or even 50 occasions. Such feats have been accomplished by four extraordinary players: 

  • German striker Erin Helmchen tops the list with 141 
  • Pele has 92 career hat tricks
  • Former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo follows with 58
  • Former Barcelona ace Lionel Messi has 55, with many of them happening in LaLiga.

The fastest hat trick in soccer history

Entering the Guinness World Records for the fastest hat trick in soccer history is English player Alex Torr who scored three goals in only 70 seconds in 2013 playing for Rawson Springs. Then there is Tommy Ross who was only 18 when he scored three goals in 90 seconds. Tommy Ross scored the three goals while playing for Ross County against Nairn County in 1964.

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Hat tricks in the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is soccer’s biggest stage and to score a hat trick there puts you in the record books forever. From American Bert Patenaude in 1930 to England striker Harry Kane in 2018, the list is long but there are some great names on it: 

  • Gerd Müller has two World Cup hat tricks
  • Argentine soccer great Gabriel Batistuta has two
  • Oleg Salenko scored 5 goals in one World Cup game in 1994
  • Also Miroslav Klose, Gonzalo Higuaín, and Cristiano Ronaldo have all recently scored three in one game at a World Cup.

Players who have the most hat tricks in the European leagues

In some of the top competitions and leagues across Europe world class players have scored hat tricks in the UEFA Champions League, LaLiga, and Premier League. 

UEFA Champions League 

  • Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are tied with 8 hat tricks in the Champions League
  • Robert Lewandowski (5) is another goal scoring threat in this league
  • Karim Benzema (4) 
  • Neymar (3) 
  • Sergio Agüero (2) 
  • Kylian Mbappé (2). 

LaLiga 

In the Spanish League: 

  • Lionel Messi leads with 36 career hat tricks
  • His nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo has 34
  • Alfredo Di Stéfano has achieved 22
  • Uruguayan Luis Suarez has taken the match ball home in this league 10 times.

Premier League

No player has scored more hat tricks in Premier League history than Sergio Agüero when he played for Manchester City with 12. Also:

  • Newcastle United great Alan Shearer has 11
  • Tottenham striker Harry Kane has 8, tied with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry
  • Liverpool standouts Luis Suarez has 6 and Mohamed Salah 4.

Sadio Mane has the fastest record in Premier League history scoring three goals against Aston Villa in 2 minutes and 35 seconds playing for Southampton in May of 2015. 

The two Americans to score a hat trick in the Premier League are Clint Dempsey playing for Fulham and Christian Pulisic with Chelsea. 

Conclusions

Scoring a hat trick is one of the greatest feelings for any soccer player, whether it happens  in a major league like the Premier or at a Sunday League. Watching a soccer ball hit the back of the net brings fans to their feet, so imagine if you are a single player and score three in one game! 

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Written by
editorial team 💻
Daniel Benchimol
Co-Founder & CEO
Jee Lee
Creative Director
Kelvin Loyola
Editor Blog
Daniela Bardales
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Martin O' Donnell
Editor Blog
Bianca Schinca
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