what is a hat trick in soccer

What is a Hat Trick in Soccer? – Explained by Soccer Coach

In the thrilling world of soccer, a hat trick is simply a trick and a remarkable achievement, symbolizing a player’s prowess and skill. But let’s find out exactly what is a hat trick in soccer and why it is so celebrated. 

In this article, we delve into the fascinating concept of a hat trick, exploring its origins and significance. We will also talk about the perfect hat trick, the super hat trick, how do you score a hat trick in soccer, and the famous players who are awesome at it.

Table of Contents

What is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

In soccer, a player gets a “hat trick” if he or she scores three goals in one game. These three goals don’t have to be made back-to-back or in the same way, and they can be scored during normal regulation time or extra time. For example: When a player has scored two goals in a game called “a brace,” they are often said to be “on a hat-trick” because if they score one more goal, they will have a hat trick.

It is believed that the word “hat-trick” came from cricket in 1858, when English cricketer H.H. Stephenson took three wickets in three straight deliveries. There was a collection, and the money was put into a hat and then given to Stephenson. Other sports, including soccer, later adopted the term.

what is a hat trick in soccer

Types of Hat Tricks in Soccer

1. Standard Hat Trick

  • Definition: A Standard Hat Trick is when a player scores three goals in one game.. These goals can be scored at any time during the match, including extra time.
  • Example: Cristiano Ronaldo has scored numerous standard hat tricks throughout his career, including 34 in La Liga during his time with Real Madrid.

2. Perfect Hat Trick

  • Definition: A perfect hat trick is achieved when a player scores three goals in a single game, with one goal using the right foot, one using the left foot, and one with the head.
  • Example: There are many instances of perfect hat tricks, but one notable example is when Sadio Mane scored three goals for Southampton in just 2 minutes and 35 seconds against Aston Villa on May 16, 2015.

3. Natural or Flawless Hat Trick

  • Definition: A natural or flawless hat trick occurs when a player scores three consecutive goals in a single game without any other player on either team scoring between those goals.
  • Example: In the 1994-1995 season, Luis Perez scored three goals for Real Sociedad against Logrones in three minutes. This was a natural hat trick.

Famous Hat Tricks

  • Carli Lloyd: Achieved the quickest hat trick in Women’s World Cup history, scoring three goals in just 16 minutes during the final match against Japan in 2015.
  • Sadio Mane: Holds the record for the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history, scoring thrice in 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

Records and Statistics

  • Most Hat Tricks in Soccer: Pele with 92 hat tricks, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo with 56, and Lionel Messi with 53.
  • Fastest Hat Tricks: Tommy Ross in 1964 scored a hat trick in 90 seconds. In the modern era, Sadio Mané scored one of the fastest hat tricks in 2 minutes and 56 seconds.

Also Read: 12 Best Soccer Balls in 2023 -According to Soccer Expert!

What is a Super Hat-trick in Soccer?

A super Hat-trick in soccer is an extraordinary feat where a player scores four goals in a single game. Unlike a regular hat-trick, where three goals are scored, the Super Hat-trick adds a goal to the tally. This rare achievement showcases a player’s exceptional skill and ability to dominate the game. It’s a testament to a player’s prowess and a moment that becomes a highlight of their career. Here’s a deeper look into this extraordinary feat:

  • Goals: The four goals in a Super Hat Trick are not necessarily scored in consecutive order.
  • Penalty Kicks: Goals made during a penalty shootout are not counted, but those from penalty kicks are included.
  • Extra Time: Goals made during extra time are also part of the count for a Super Hat Trick.

Players with the Most Super Hat-Tricks

Super Hat tricks are considered major feats, and players who achieve them are highly regarded. Germany’s Erwin Helmchen holds the record for most hat-tricks, including multiple Super Hat-tricks. As of July 2023, Cristiano Ronaldo has 62 hat-tricks, and Lionel Messi has 57.

Hat Trick Meaning

A soccer hat trick is when a player scores three goals in a single game. The term “hat trick” originated in cricket and is not exclusive to soccer. In 1858, English cricketer H.H. Stephenson took three wickets in three consecutive deliveries, and as a reward, money was collected in a hat and presented to him. This moment gave birth to the term “hat trick.”

Variations and Types

  • Global Usage: Different countries may have unique terms for a hat trick, such as “tripletta” in Italy or “coup du chapeau” in France.
  • Beyond Goals: The term can also be used outside of goal-scoring, such as winning three consecutive league titles or earning three consecutive Man of the Match trophies.

Also Read: Difference Between Soccer and Football Cleats? – Explained by Soccer Coach

What is a Perfect Hat Trick?

A Perfect Hat Trick in soccer is a special type of hat trick where a player scores three goals in a single game using three different methods: one goal with the left foot, one with the right foot, and one with the head. This achievement is even rarer than a basic hat trick and is considered a mark of a truly versatile and skilled player.

Examples of Perfect Hat Tricks

  • Christian Pulisic: Scored a perfect hat trick against Burnley in 2019, utilizing his left foot, right foot, and head.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo: Known for his incredible heading ability and striking skills, Ronaldo has made a name for himself as one of the best scorers of perfect hat tricks.

Why Are 3 Goals Called a Hat Trick?

“Hat trick” is an exciting slang word used in many sports. But why is it called a “hat trick” when a football player scores three goals? Let’s find out

Origin in Cricket

Interestingly, the term “hat trick” originated in cricket. In 1858, English cricketer H.H. Stephenson achieved the remarkable feat of taking three wickets in three consecutive deliveries. As a reward, spectators collected money in a hat and presented it to Stephenson. The hat bought with the collected money was awarded to him, giving birth to the term “hat trick.”

Usage in Other Sports

The phrase “hat trick” is not exclusive to soccer and is used in various other sports like hockey, handball, and lacrosse.

Hat Tricks and Caps

The terms “hat trick” and “cap” have intriguing connections in soccer, linked to headwear.

Hat Tricks

As explained earlier, a hat trick refers to scoring three goals in a single game. The term’s origin is linked to a hat being awarded as a prize.


A soccer player’s appearance on an international stage is known as a “cap.” Historically, English soccer players were awarded a commemorative embroidered cap for representing their nation in a match. This tradition has faded, but “cap” remains in use.

Connection Between Hat Tricks and Caps

A player who scored three goals while playing for their country might have gone home with two hats: one for playing and one for getting a “hat trick.”

Also Read: 13 Fun & Essential Soccer Drills for 10 Year Olds (U11) – According to Soccer Coach

How Hard Is It to Score a Hat Trick?

Scoring a hat trick in professional soccer is a prestigious achievement, but it’s far from easy. Here’s why:

Position Matters

  • Goalkeepers and Defenders: Rarely score goals, let alone three in a single game, as their primary role is to defend.
  • Midfielders have a more attacking role but rarely score hat tricks. When they do, it’s considered even more impressive.
  • Attackers: They’re most likely to score a hat trick, but it’s still a challenging feat.

Which Players Have Scored the Most Hat Tricks?

The title for most hat tricks in professional soccer is a subject of debate. Here are some notable players:

  • Erwin Helmchen: Between 1924 and 1951, he played at least 578 official games and scored 987 goals, including at least 141 hat tricks.
  • Pele: Recognized by Guinness World Records as having scored many hat tricks, though the exact number is debated.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo: Holds the hat trick record on the international stage, scoring 10 for Portugal in his career.

The 10 Best Hat-tricks Ever

1. Gareth Bale vs Inter – 2010

At age 21, Gareth Bale’s hat trick against Inter Milan was spectacular. Despite Tottenham being down a man after an early red card, Bale’s ball-carrying skills and relentless runs at the world’s best right-back and centre-back at the time led to three impressive goals. They lost 4-3, but Bale’s performance was unforgettable.

2. Messi vs Brazil 4-3 – 2012 

Messi’s hat trick in 2012 stands out in the heated Brazil-Argentina rivalry. At 24, he was unstoppable, scoring three remarkable goals. The raw quality of the goals, including a game-winning drive from 20 yards out in the 85th minute, makes this hat trick one of his best.

3. Matt le Tissier vs Norwich – 1990

Matt le Tissier’s hat trick against Norwich is a hidden gem. The first goal showcased great control and a quick turn, but the next two were world-class, including a 25-yard chip over the goalkeeper. His skill and finesse were on full display.

4. Dennis Bergkamp vs Leicester City – 1997

Bergkamp’s hat trick against Leicester City is known for its third goal, a masterpiece of control and placement. The first goal was well-placed from outside the box, but the third, involving three touches in the air and perfect placement, is one of the best goals ever.

5. Dimitar Berbatov vs Liverpool – 2010

Berbatov’s hat trick against arch-rivals Liverpool included two impressive headers and a self-served bicycle kick that hit the crossbar. His insane technique and ability to score from difficult positions make this hat trick memorable.

6. Sinisa Mihajlovic vs Sampdoria – 1998

Mihajlovic, a center back, scored all three goals from free kicks in a single game. The rarity of this feat and the precision required to achieve it place this hat trick among the best.

7. Carli Lloyd vs Japan – 2015

In the World Cup final, Carli Lloyd completed a first-half hat trick only 16 minutes into the game. The third goal, a chip from midfield, showcased her immense quality and the importance of the match.

8. Luis Suarez vs Norwich – 2013

Suarez’s four-goal performance against Norwich included volleys from various distances and a free kick. His creativity and finishing ability were on full display, making this one of the most beautiful goal-scoring feats ever.

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs England – 2012

Zlatan’s hat trick against England included a 35-yard free kick and a 25-yard bicycle kick that won the Puskas award. The audacity and skill required for these goals make this hat trick one of the greatest.

10. Rivaldo vs Valencia – 2001

Rivaldo’s hat trick against Valencia in a crucial league match included a free kick, a screamer, and a bicycle kick, all from outside the box. The quality of the goals and the clutch performance in the 89th minute make this the greatest hat trick of all time.

10 Fastest Hat-Tricks in World Football Since the Millennium

10. James Hayter, Bournemouth vs. Wrexham, 2004:

  • Time: 2 minutes 20 seconds
  • Details: James Hayter’s record-breaking hat trick in English football history came in a Division Two match against Wrexham. He scored three goals in 140 seconds, breaking a 61-year-old record. His parents missed the feat as they left early to catch a ferry!

9. Bafetimbi Gomis, Dinamo Zagreb vs. Lyon, 2011:

  • Time: 7 minutes
  • Details: Bafetimbi Gomis holds the Champions League record for the fastest hat trick, scoring three goals in seven minutes against Dinamo Zagreb. This record-breaking performance helped Lyon to a 7-1 victory.

8. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham vs. Wigan, 2009:

  • Time: 7 minutes
  • Details: Jermain Defoe’s seven-minute hat trick against Wigan was part of Tottenham’s remarkable 9-1 win. His quick-fire goals in the second half contributed to Tottenham’s biggest-ever win in the top flight.

7. Welliton, Spartak Moscow vs. Tom Tomsk, 2010:

  • Time: 6 minutes
  • Details: Brazilian forward Welliton was a star at Spartak Moscow, and his six-minute hat trick against Tom Tomsk is a highlight of his time in Russia. He scored another treble just a week before this feat.

6. Matt Moussilou, Lille vs. Istres, 2005:

  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Details: Matt Moussilou’s five-minute hat trick against FC Istres is the fastest in Ligue 1 history. His goals set the tone for an 8-0 thrashing, and he broke a record that had only stood for a few months.

5. Mateja Kezman, Alanyaspor vs. Fenerbahce, 2008:

  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Details: Mateja Kezman, known for his time at Chelsea, was in lethal form for Fenerbahce in a Turkish Cup match against lower-league Alanyaspor. Fenerbahce won 10-3, with Kezman scoring three times in five minutes, taking the score from 6-3 to 9-3.

4. Iago Aspas, Sevilla vs. Sabadell, 2014:

  • Time: 4 minutes
  • Details: Iago Aspas, once a fringe player at Liverpool, found success at Sevilla. He struck three times in four minutes against lower-league side Sabadell in the Copa Del Rey, a feat that surpassed Robbie Fowler’s famous Liverpool treble.

3. Joel Pohjanpalo, HJK Helsinki vs. IFK Mariehamn, 2012:

  • Time: Under 3 minutes
  • Details: Seventeen-year-old Joel Pohjanpalo announced himself in senior football with a hat trick in under three minutes for HJK Helsinki. He turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead in the first match of the 2012 Finnish League season.

2. Abdul Hamid Bassiouny, Egypt vs. Namibia, 2001:

  • Time: 1 minute 57 seconds
  • Details: Abdul Hamid Bassiouny’s hat trick against Namibia in a World Cup qualifier is the fastest-ever in the competition. His 117-second treble in an 8-2 win was the only three goals he ever managed for Egypt.

 1. Alex Torr, Rawson Springs vs. Winn Gardens, 2013:

  • Time: 70 seconds
  • Details: Sheffield Sunday League footballer Alex Torr scored an astonishing 70-second hat trick in a match in 2013. He scored four goals in a 7-1 win, with his first three coming in a spell between the 11th and 13th minutes.

Whether it’s a record-breaking feat in the Champions League or a stunning performance in a Sunday League match, these moments capture the essence of the beautiful game.

Is There a Prize for a Hat-Trick?

In soccer, scoring a hat trick is a significant achievement that showcases a player’s skill and ability to dominate a game. But is there a prize for scoring a hat trick?

The answer is that there is no official prize for scoring a hat trick in a soccer game. However, a longstanding tradition exists where a player who has scored a hat trick gets to keep the soccer ball used in that game. This serves as a reward or reminder of their success on the field that day. It’s a tangible symbol of a momentous occasion in a player’s career, a personal trophy commemorating an extraordinary feat.

Summing Up on What is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

Hat tricks are a cherished part of soccer, adding excitement and drama. Whether it’s a young player scoring their first hat trick or a seasoned professional adding to their tally, the achievement is always celebrated and remembered.

Faqs on What is a Hat Trick in Soccer

1. What is 4 Goals in Soccer Called?

Scoring 4 goals in a soccer match is referred to as a “haul.” This term is used to describe a player’s standout performance in a match, where they have managed to score four goals, possibly including goals with both feet and one with a header.

2. What is 7 Goals in Soccer Called?

Unfortunately, the provided link did not contain information about what 7 goals in soccer is called. If you have any other sources or specific details, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to include them.

3. How Many Hattrick Does Messi Have?

Lionel Messi has scored a total of 57 hat-tricks in his career for Barcelona and Argentina. This impressive record highlights Messi’s extraordinary goal-scoring ability and consistency at the game’s highest level.

4. Has Ronaldo Scored 5 Goals in a Match?

Cristiano Ronaldo has indeed scored 5 goals in a match. He first achieved this feat in a game against Granada in 2015, where he scored 5 goals, including one from a Luka Modric free kick. This performance showcases Ronaldo’s exceptional skill and versatility on the field.

5. What is 5 Goals by One Player Called?

In soccer, scoring five goals in a single match by one player is often referred to as a ‘glut.’ This term is not official, and different people might have different names for it. A famous example of this happening is Polish striker Robert Lewandowski’s 5 goals against Wolfsburg, where he got his 5 goals in just 9 minutes after coming on as a substitute. 

6. What is a Golden Goal in Soccer?

The Golden Goal rule was a method used in soccer where the first goal scored in extra time would end the game, effectively making that goal the “golden” or winning goal. This rule was used in FIFA competitions but has since been abolished. The idea was that if either team scored a goal during extra time, the game would end, and the team that scored would win. 

7. What is 2 Goals Called?

In soccer, when a player scores two goals in a single game, it is referred to as a “brace.” The origin of this term is thought to date back to the old Anglo-French language, meaning a pair of arms, similar to the pair of goals. It could also relate to an Old English expression used by hunters to refer to two animals caught on a trip. In soccer, a brace does not come with physical rewards but adds to the player’s overall statistics.

8. How Many Ronaldo Hat-tricks?

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal legend, is unmatched when it comes to hat-tricks in professional soccer. He has scored a total of 62 hat-tricks in his career, leading the way among all players. His arch-rival, Lionel Messi, sits second in the rankings with 57 hat-tricks, trailing Ronaldo by five trebles.

About the author


Hi I"m Aryan a pro soccer player, coach, and visionary in the world of soccer. With an impressive journey that began at the tender age of five, I have dedicated my life to the beautiful game.

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