Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

Hat Trick in Soccer: Understanding the Meaning, Origin, and Examples


Soccer, known for relatively low-scoring matches, still creates moments of excitement when players score multiple goals in a single game, achieving what is called a hat trick. In this article, we will explore what a hat trick means in soccer, its origin, and some notable examples.

What Counts as a Hat Trick?

A hat trick in soccer is when a player scores three goals in one game, including stoppage time and overtime. The goals can be scored in the regulation 90 minutes, any stoppage time, or the extra time portions. However, goals scored during penalty shoot-outs are not counted towards a hat trick.

It’s worth noting that the player who achieves a hat trick doesn’t have to be the only player to score during the game, and the goals don’t have to be scored consecutively. This means that in some games, the total score for one team can be higher than three. Interestingly, matches where a player scores a hat trick often result in their team winning the game.

A “perfect hat trick” is a special achievement where a player scores a goal with their right foot, left foot, and head. In German and Austrian leagues, a “lupenreiner hattrick” (flawless hat trick) refers to scoring three goals in the first half or scoring all three goals without another player scoring in between.

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Why Is It Called a Hat Trick?

The term “hat trick” originated in cricket and has been adopted by various sports. In 1858, a cricket player named H. H. Stephenson took three wickets on three consecutive deliveries, and fans collected money to buy him a new hat in celebration. The term was first used in the Chelmsford Chronicle newspaper in 1865 when describing a similar performance by another cricket player. Since then, it has become associated with impressive sporting achievements involving threes.

Are Hat Tricks Common?

Scoring even a single goal in professional soccer is no easy task, making hat tricks a remarkable accomplishment for players and fans. According to statistics, there is a 3.34% chance of a hat trick being scored in one match. The fastest known time for a hat trick in an organized game is 70 seconds, achieved by Alex Torr in a Sunday League game in 2013.

Here are some players with the most hat tricks in history:

  • Pele – 90 Hat Tricks
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 59 Hat Tricks
  • Lionel Messi – 54 Hat Tricks
  • Luis Suarez – 29 Hat Tricks
  • Robert Lewandowski – 25 Hat Tricks

Famous Hat Tricks in Recent Memory

Hat tricks have been scored at all levels of soccer, including the FIFA World Cup. In 2018, England’s Harry Kane scored a hat trick against Panama. While hat tricks may be more common in games where teams are unevenly matched, they have also occurred in the highly competitive Premier League. For example, Eric Cantona scored the first hat trick in the Premier League in 1992 for Leeds United.

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One of the most recent Premier League hat tricks was scored by Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United against Leeds United on August 14, 2021. These goals contribute to a player’s overall goal tally, and they can even break records. In September 2021, Lionel Messi scored a hat trick in a game against Bolivia, surpassing Pele’s record for international goals scored by a South American footballer.

Do Players Get Paid Bonuses for Hat Tricks?

While there is no universal rule, many professional players have scoring bonuses built into their contracts. Some players negotiate specific bonuses for achieving hat tricks, but most are paid per goal in some capacity. Additionally, players who regularly score hat tricks attract endorsement deals and additional income opportunities. Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance, is both the all-time hat trick leader in men’s international soccer and the richest soccer player globally.

Experiencing a hat trick in a game, especially when all three goals come from one player, is a special moment for both fans and players. Let’s salute the skill and talent of all the hat-trickers out there!


Here are some frequently asked questions about hat tricks in soccer:

Q: What is a hat trick in soccer?

A: A hat trick in soccer is when a player scores three goals in a single game.

Q: Can goals in penalty shoot-outs count towards a hat trick?

A: No, goals scored during penalty shoot-outs do not count towards a hat trick.

Q: Can multiple players score hat tricks in the same game?

A: Yes, multiple players can score hat tricks in the same game.

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Q: Is there a specific order in which the goals must be scored to qualify as a hat trick?

A: No, goals can be scored in any order to achieve a hat trick.

Q: What is a perfect hat trick?

A: A perfect hat trick is achieved when a player scores a goal with their right foot, left foot, and head.


Hat tricks are an exciting aspect of soccer, showcasing the skills and abilities of exceptional players. Whether it’s scoring three goals in a single game or achieving a perfect hat trick, these achievements are celebrated by fans worldwide. Hat tricks hold a special place in the history of the sport and continue to captivate soccer enthusiasts with each remarkable performance.

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