What Is a Hat Trick in Soccer: The Magic of Three Goals

The hat trick—a feat that sends fans into a frenzy and etches a player’s name into the annals of soccer history. There’s something almost magical about witnessing one happen firsthand.

A feat that’s more than just skill or strategy; it’s about that electric moment when everyone realizes they’re witnessing something extraordinary. A hat trick isn’t just a personal milestone for the player; it’s a collective experience that unites everyone in the stadium.

Types of Hat Tricks

Now, not all hat tricks are created equal. While the traditional hat trick involves a player scoring three goals in one game, there are some variations that deserve a special mention:

  • Perfect Hat Trick: This is the stuff of dreams for any forward. Imagine scoring with your left foot, then your right, and finally with a header. It’s a showcase of versatility and skill that few can boast of.
  • Flawless Hat Trick: Scoring three goals is impressive, but doing it all in one half? That’s a masterclass in efficiency and a testament to a player’s dominance during that period.
  • Hat Trick of Assists: Goals might steal the limelight, but let’s not forget the playmakers. Providing three assists leading to goals is an art in itself. It’s like being the director of a beautiful symphony, orchestrating every move to perfection.

Fun Fact: The rarity of these variations makes them even more special. While traditional hat tricks are a rare feat, these variations are like finding a diamond in the rough.

Memorable Hat Tricks

Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Spain (2018) – On the World Stage

Cristiano Ronaldo, in a group stage match that was eagerly anticipated, showcased his brilliance by scoring a hat-trick against the Spanish side, ensuring that Portugal secured a 3-3 draw. This performance was particularly notable because Spain, was one of the tournament favorites.

The match was a roller-coaster of emotions for fans worldwide. Ronaldo opened the scoring with an early penalty, only for Spain to equalize and then take the lead. Ronaldo leveled the score with a shot that was mishandled by Spain’s goalkeeper. As the match neared its end, and with Spain leading 3-2, Ronaldo stepped up to take a free-kick from the edge of the box. He expertly curled the ball into the top corner, completing his hat-trick and sealing a draw for Portugal.

Gareth Bale vs. Inter Milan (2010) – The Welshman announced to the World

Gareth Bale’s career at Tottenham was marked by several standout moments, but one of the most memorable was his performance against Inter Milan in the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League.

On 20 October 2010, Bale scored a remarkable hat-trick against European champions Inter Milan at the San Siro in the Champions League. Despite Tottenham being 4–0 down within the first 35 minutes and playing with ten men for over 80 minutes, Bale’s performance was a highlight. His three goals couldn’t prevent a 4–3 loss, but they showcased his immense talent on the European stage.

The return match at White Hart Lane saw Bale deliver another stellar performance. He provided assists for goals by Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko, helping Spurs secure a memorable 3–1 victory over Inter Milan.

Lionel Messi vs. Real Madrid (2007) – Classico of the Ages

Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of (if not the) greatest footballers of all time. One of his most memorable moments came during the 2006-2007 La Liga season. In a Clásico match against Real Madrid on 10 March 2007, Messi showcased his brilliance by scoring a hat-trick, becoming the first player to do so in a Clásico in 12 years.

The match ended in a 3-3 draw, with Messi equalizing after each of Real Madrid’s goals. This performance solidified Messi’s status as a rising star and hinted at the legendary career that was to unfold.

Ronaldo de Lima vs. Manchester United (2003) – Captivating an entire stadium

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, captivated the field with his incredible speed, skill, and scoring ability. One of the most memorable moments during his time at Real Madrid was in the 2002-2003 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Ronaldo scored a remarkable hat-trick against Manchester United at Old Trafford. His performance was so outstanding that he received a standing ovation from both sets of fans, a rare feat for an opposing player.

Rivaldo vs Valencia (2001) – Brazilion Maestro

Rivaldo, is considered one of the greatest Brazilian players known for his bending free kicks, bicycle kicks, feints, and powerful shots from a distance. One of the most iconic moments of Rivaldo’s career at Barcelona was in June 2001. Barcelona was playing against Valencia, and the stakes were high. Barcelona needed a win to qualify for the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League.

Rivaldo delivered an unforgettable performance by scoring a hat-trick. The last goal of the match, which sealed Barcelona’s victory, was a last-minute 20-yard bicycle kick.

Sinisa Mihajlovic vs Sampdoria (1998) – Freekick Wonder

Siniša Mihajlović, a Serbian professional football player, was known for his exceptional talent when it came to free-kicks. In the 1998-99 Serie A season, while playing for Lazio, Mihajlović showcased his prowess by scoring a hat-trick from free kicks in a single match against Sampdoria.

This feat is a testament to his precision and technique, making him one of the only two players in Serie A history to achieve this. The match ended in a 5-2 victory for Lazio. Mihajlović’s performance that day was nothing short of magical, with each free-kick finding the back of the net, leaving the Sampdoria defense and goalkeeper in awe.

Geoff Hurst vs. Germany (1966) – Wembley Miracle

Sir Geoffrey Charles Hurst is an iconic figure in English football history. On 30th July 1966, he achieved what no other player had done before and what remains unmatched to this day: scoring a hat-trick in a Men’s World Cup final.

England faced West Germany at the renowned Wembley Stadium. Hurst’s first goal came as a header, leveling the scores at 1-1 after West Germany had taken an early lead.

As the match progressed, with England leading 2-1, a controversial moment arose. Hurst’s powerful shot hit the crossbar, bounced down, and was cleared away. This goal remains one of the most debated in World Cup history.

Hurst completed his hat-trick, sealing a 4-2 victory for England in the closing minutes. This monumental achievement made him a national hero. The famous commentary by Kenneth Wolstenholme during Hurst’s third goal, “Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over! It is now!” has since become legendary.

Bert Patenaude vs. Paraguay (1930) – The First Ever Hat-trick in FIFA World Cup History

Bertrand “Bert” Arthur Patenaude, born in Massachusetts in 1909, holds a special place in football history. He is officially recognized by FIFA as the scorer of the first hat-trick in World Cup history.

This monumental achievement took place on July 17, 1930, during the inaugural World Cup when the United States faced Paraguay.

Patenaude’s first goal came in the tenth minute, setting the tone for the match. The second goal, scored in the fifteenth minute, was initially a subject of dispute, with some attributing it as an own goal by Paraguay’s Aurelio González, while others credited it to another U.S. player, Tom Florie. He completed his hat-trick with a goal in the fiftieth minute, ensuring a 3-0 victory for the U.S. over the South Americans.

This historic feat was only officially recognized by FIFA in 2006, confirming that Patenaude was indeed the first player to score a hat-trick in World Cup play. A member of the United States Soccer Hall of Fame, Patenaude’s legacy in the world of football remains unparalleled.


Who has the most hat tricks in professional-level football?

The most hat-tricks in history belong to Erwin Helmchen, who scored at least 141. However, according to the Guinness World Records, Pelé has scored the most hat-tricks in history.

How many hat tricks does Ronaldo have?

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a total of 63 hat-tricks in his career, making him the active player with the most hat-tricks.

How many hat tricks does Messi have?

Lionel Messi has scored a total of 57 hat-tricks in his career for Barcelona and Argentina.

Who has the most goals in a professional game?

The record for the most goals in a single match is held by Yanick Djouzi Manzizila, who scored 21 goals for Congo United in the ninth tier of Swedish football on 11 August 2014.

Who has the fastest hat trick in history?

The provided content does not specify who holds the record for the fastest hat-trick. However, based on prior knowledge, Sadio Mané holds the record for the fastest hat-trick in the English Premier League, scoring three goals in just 2 minutes and 56 seconds for Southampton against Aston Villa in 2015.


The hat trick, a revered accomplishment in the world of soccer, stands as a testament to a player’s prowess and skill on the field. From the traditional three-goal feat to the rare variations, achieving a hat trick is a moment of collective exhilaration for both the player and the fans.

As history has shown, from the first-ever World Cup hat trick to the free-kick wonders, these moments not only etch a player’s name in the annals of soccer history but also create memories that resonate with fans for generations. –

Memorable Hat Tricks