The Best Hatricks Of All Time
Cristiano Ronaldo notched a record-equalling 22nd La Liga hat-trick on Sunday – his third in four league games – in a 5:0 rout of Athletic Bilbao.
We take a look at some of the best hat-tricks ever.
Ronaldo, Man Utd 4-3 Real Madrid, Champions League quarter-final, 2003
Before Ronaldo there was, well, Ronaldo. Cristiano only managed one hat-trick for Manchester United, in a home win over Newcastle United in 2008. The Brazilian version had notched an Old Trafford treble off his bucket list five years earlier, in a seven-goal Champions League thriller.
His goals essentially knocked United out of the tournament and signaled the end of Fabien Barthez’s career at Old Trafford. Despite this, the Brazilian earned a standing ovation from Red Devils fans, who accepted they’d just witnessed something special.
Dennis Bergkamp, Leicester 3-3 Arsenal, Premiership, 1997
This treble from the stylish Dutch striker also contained one of his best ever strikes. The first was a beautiful curler from the edge of the box, the second was a lob after an exquisite first touch, the third was the best of the lot. He controlled a 40-yard pass, juggled it over the defender and curled it home in just four touches. It won that month’s Goal of the Month, with his first of the match runner-up.
Rivaldo, Barcelona 3-2 Valencia, La Liga, 2001
The sheer beauty of this hat-trick was equaled by its importance – Barcelona’s win on the last day of the season guaranteed them a Champions League place. It’s often said the perfect hat-trick is a “right foot, left foot, header”, but who needs that when you’ve got a sumptuous free-kick, a long-range cracker and an audacious bicycle kick from the edge of the box to secure European qualification?
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United 6:2 Fenerbache, Champions League 2004
A hat-trick on your debut as an 18-year-old is a pretty decent way to introduce yourself to the world stage. Wayne Rooney had waited a few weeks to make his Manchester United bow but it was worth the wait. All three goals were from outside the box – the first a clipped finish on the run, the second a piledriver with his right foot and the third a wonderful free-kick to guarantee him the match ball.
Robbie Fowler, Liverpool 3-0 Arsenal, Premier League, 1994
This one merits inclusion for the sheer speed of Fowler’s goal haul. His hat-trick, as a 19-year-old, took 4 minutes 33 seconds to complete – still a Premier League record. His first was a typical Fowler strike, capitalising on a defensive error to slot home in the box.
The second was a beautifully weighted left-foot strike that went in off the far post. For his third, his initial shot was saved by David Seaman but he made no mistake with the follow-up, controlling the ball on the touchline before calmly finishing past onrushing defenders. This was the match that Fowler’s “God” nickname began to stick.