What is a Hat trick in Soccer?

Every sport has its own lingo. If you’re new to soccer you may have heard the term hat trick being thrown around by fans and reporters.

So you may be wondering, what is a hat trick in soccer? 

Well, don’t bother as we will define what a hat trick is, what the origin of the term is, and which soccer players hold the record for scoring the most hat tricks. 

Stay tuned.

What is a hat trick in soccer?

what is a hat trick soccer
Karim Benzema celebrating hat trick

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

It doesn’t matter if the three goals are scored in succession as long as they’re all scored by the same player. 

Also, it doesn’t matter if all three goals are scored during regular playing time or during extra time, it is still considered a hat trick. The only exception is a goal scored during a penalty shootout which does not count.

For someone hearing the term for the first time, it may sound a little weird. However, it is a very popular term among soccer fans and reporters.

In french, a hat trick is called a coup du chapeau or triplé. In Italian, it is called tripletta.

How did the term hat trick come about? 

The term hat trick can be traced back to the sport of cricket in the 19th century in England.

Legend has it that in 1858, English cricketer H.H Stephenson during a game between an all-England squad and Hallam University took three wickets in three balls consecutively.

This was an incredibly rare feat to achieve and thus everyone was very impressed. After the game, as it was customary at the time, a collection was held and the funds were used to purchase a hat for Stephenson.

From then on, the term hat-trick was used to refer to anytime this feat was repeated. The term made its way to other sports such as soccer and hockey.

Nowadays, a hat trick can be used to refer to recognize a special accomplishment involving the number three.

The term can also apply to feats other than simply scoring goals or points. In soccer of basketball, players can have a hat trick of assists (helping another player score a goal). In baseball, players can have a hat trick of strikeouts.

As long as the move is done in threes, it can be called a hat trick.

Types of Hat tricks

What is a perfect/golden hat trick in soccer? 

A perfect or golden hat trick is attained when a soccer player scores one goal with the right leg, another with the left leg, and another with the head. 

Since these are the three main body parts that can be used to score a goal in soccer, once a player scores a goal with all three, he’s scored a perfect hat trick. 

What is a Flawless or Natural hat trick in soccer?

In soccer, a flawless hat trick is achieved when a player scores three consecutive goals, and none of them are interrupted by another player’s goal.

What is a Brace in Soccer?

A brace in soccer occurs when a player scores two goals in the same match. Most of the time, this phrase is used when it is anticipated that a player will score a third goal, thus a hat trick.

Just like a brace doesn’t require back-to-back goals like a regular hat trick. If the two goals are scored in regular time or extra time, it’s considered a hat trick.

What happens when a player scores a hat trick in soccer? 

In soccer tradition, when a player achieves a hat trick, the ball that is used to play the game is handed over to the player as a memento. 

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Which players have scored the most tricks in soccer

what is a hat trick soccer
Cristian Ronaldo celebrating after scoring a hat trick

When it comes to the players who have the most hat trick records it is usually players that play attacking positions in soccer. 

As far as the history of soccer goes, Brazilian legend Pele holds the record for the most career hat tricks with an astounding 92 hat tricks.

In the English Premier League, Sergio Aguero holds the record for the most hat tricks with 12 hat tricks scored while playing for Manchester City FC. 

In the Spanish La Liga, Lionel Messi holds the record for the most hat tricks with 34 hat tricks scored while playing for FC Barcelona.

In the Italian Serie A, Giuseppe Meazza holds the record for the most hat tricks scored with 17 hat tricks scored while playing for Inter Milan FC.

The Champions League tournament which brings the best European soccer clubs to compete, Lionel Messi and Cristiano both hold the record for the most hat tricks scored with 8 hat tricks.

Below is a table of the players with the most hat tricks scored in soccer.

PlayerCurrent TeamNumber of Hat tricks
Cristiano RonaldoManchester United60
Lionel MessiParis Saint Germain54
Luis SuárezAtletico Madrid29
Robert LewandowskiBayen Munich29
Zlatan IbrahimovićAC Milan26
Sergio AgüeroRetired17
Edinson CavaniManchester United15
Radamel FalcaoRayo Vallecano12

Who holds the record for the fastest hat trick scored? 

hat trick in football

Scoring a hat trick in a soccer match is already an incredible feat to achieve but so is doing it in a very short period of time.

The record for the fastest hat trick in soccer is held by Alex Torr who scored three goals in a record time of 1 minute 10 seconds.

While playing for Rawson Springs in the Sheffield Sunday League in England, Alex Torr scored 3 fast goals in the first 12 minutes against Winn Gardens.

This hat trick was recorded in 2013 and entered the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest hat trick in soccer.

In the Premier League, which is more competitive, notable fast hat trick performances include Senegalese football player, Sadio Mane who scored a hat trick in only 2 minutes 56 seconds against Aston Villa FC in 2015.

Also, Argentinian player, Sergio Aguero while playing for Manchester City FC, scored a hat trick in only 8 minutes.

Who has scored the most hat tricks at the FIFA World Cup tournament? 

It is a dream come true for most soccer players to score a hat trick on the biggest stage of soccer – the FIFA World Cup tournament.

So far in history, four players have managed to score two hat tricks at the World Cup competitions.

They are;

  • Gerd Müller from Germany
  • Gabriel Batistuta from Argentina
  • Just Fontaine from France
  • Sándor Kocsis from Hungary


What are four goals in soccer called?

Other than a hat trick, there are also different terms used when players score more than 1 goal in a game. When a soccer player scores four goals, it is called a haul.

What are five goals in soccer called?

When a soccer player scores five goals in a match, it is called a glut (excess). Very few players succeeded to achieve this feat.

Final Words

It is every young soccer player’s dream to one day score a hat trick in a big game. Achieving such a feat is not easy, however, it’s not impossible.

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