Top 10 Hat-tricks in Football History

There are goal scorers, then there are prolific goal scorers. We explore the archives to find the greatest hat-trick scorers of all time in football.

Kaylan Geekie
Kaylan Geekie

Last Updated: 2024-06-10

Louis Hobbs

5 minutes read

Lionel Messi of Argentina controls the ball against Luis Suarez of Uruguay during a match between Argentina and Uruguay as part of South American Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti on October 10, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo has most hat-tricks in football history, bagging 66 trebles by the end of the 2023/24 club season. Lionel Messi, his great rival, has scored 57 hat-tricks in his distinguished career. According to Guinness World Records, however, Pelé has scored the most hat-tricks in history. But based on the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF) data, the record belongs to Erwin Helmchen with at least 141 trebles. 

Helmchen, a German footballer, has scored the most hat-tricks in official matches in recorded history. Helmchen, a striker, played from the 1920s to the 1950s for many clubs during decades-long career. He played for five clubs across his 28-year career: FV Brandenburg Cottbus, PSV Chemnitz, SG Chemnitz Nord, and VfB Lübeck. 

Top 10 Hat-tricks in Football History

RankPlayerNationality Hat-tricks
1Erwin HelmchenGerman141
3Cristiano RonaldoPortuguese66
4Lionel MessiArgentinian57
5Robert LewandowskiPolish31
6Luis SuarezUruguayan30
7Ali MabkhoutUAE27
8Vyacheslav ZahovaikoEstonian26
=10Harry KaneEnglish22
=10Aleksander DuricSerbian22
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Helmchen’s incredible goal scoring ability, particularly for PSV Chemnitz, saw him score over 418 goals in 747+ appearances. According to RSSSF, he netted at least 141 hat-tricks in official matches. This includes scoring eight goals twice, seven goals three times, six goals ten times, and five goals on 15 occasions.

Although Helmchen’s career and scoring feats are remarkable, all his career was played in Prussian regional leagues, and he was called up by Germany but uncapped at international level. SportsBoom has explored the football archives in search of the players with the most hat-tricks in football, and to give context to the records. 

Image Credit: El Gráfico // Public domain

Image Credit: El Gráfico // Public domain

Who Scored the Most Hat-tricks in Football?

The most hat-tricks in football are often credited to Pelé. The Brazil legend ranks sixth on the all-time highest goal scorers in world football list. He scored 92 hat-tricks for club and country in his career. The Brazilian is still the youngest player to score a hat-trick at a World Cup. 'O Rei' (‘The King’), as he was affectionately known, achieved this unique feat at the age of 17 in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. 

However, like Helmchen, a large proportion of Pelé’s 92 total hat-tricks came in friendlies. There is no absolute certainty to know for sure how many trebles were regarded official. The Moreover, the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Pelé as the footballer with the most hat-tricks in the history of the beautiful game. 

The authenticity of Pelé’s records are contentious and unreliable. Despite this, the Brazilian is without a doubt one of the greatest players of all time. Pelé never played in Europe during his illustrious career, meaning many of his records are questionable when ranked alongside the other greats of the game. Still, 92 trebles are a magnificent achievement.

Image Credits: Agencia de Noticias ANDES

Image Credits: Agencia de Noticias ANDES

Who Scored the Most Hat-tricks in Modern-day Football?

Ronaldo and Messi lead the hat-tricks list by a long way. They have a staggering 123 senior hat-tricks between them. Ronaldo’s 66 trebles look unlikely to ever be matched. Messi could keep up with his rival, but he has not registered three goals in a competitive game since he left Barcelona for Inter Miami in America’s Major League Soccer. 

The Portugal legend has scored three or more times in a game 11 times, scoring four goals in a match nine times, and five goals twice. Messi has scored three or more goals in a game eight times, four goals six times, and five goals twice. He has more hat-tricks than Messi at both club and country level. Ronaldo has 56 club trebles to Messi’s 48, and he edges the Argentinian 10-9 in international football. 

Ronaldo became the first player to reach 10 international hat-tricks when he netted three goals for Portugal in a 5-0 win over Luxembourg on October 12, 2021. The former Real Madrid Galactico is also the oldest player to score a hat-trick at the FIFA Men’s World Cup. He scored three times in a 3-3 draw with Spain in Russia on June 15, 2018.

Both players share eight trebles apiece in the UEFA Champions League, but Ronaldo has 45 league hat-tricks to Messi’s 36. The Portuguese goal machine has played two years more senior club football than the South American.

Image Credits:Fanny Schertzer

Image Credits:Fanny Schertzer

Who Scored the Most Hat-tricks in European Club and International Tournament Football?

Michel Platini is the only player to register two hat-tricks in the UEFA European Championship (Euros). There have, however, been ten footballers to score trebles in the Copa America: Javier Ambrois, Ademir, David Arellano, Teodoro Fernandez, Paolo Guerrero, Herminio Masantonio, Pedro Petrone, Sylvio Pirillo, Jose Sanfilippo, and Severino Varela.

Gabriel Batistuta (1994, 1998), Sandor Kocsis (1954), Just Fontaine (1958), and Gerd Muller (1970) are the only players to score two FIFA World Cup hat-tricks. Geoff Hurst and Kylian Mbappe are only two players to have scored a World Cup final hat-trick. Hurst notched his treble for England against West Germany in a 4-2 extra time win at Wembley Stadium in 1966. 

Mbappe joined the English striker when he scored three times against Argentina in Qatar in 2022. The match ended 3-3 after extra time, but Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties. Another great goal scorer, Ferenc Puskas, is the only player to score two hat-tricks in a major international club final. Puskas notched trebles in the 1960 and 1962 European Cup finals (UEFA Champions League) for Real Madrid. 

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Image Credits: Jan S0L0 – Flickr

Image Credits: Jan S0L0 – Flickr


Who scored the first-ever international football hat-trick?

John McDougall scored the first-ever international hat-trick for Scotland in a 7-2 win against England on March 2, 1878. 

Who scored the most UEFA Champions League hat-tricks?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – eight apiece – share the record for most Champions League hat-tricks. 

Who scored the most international football hat-tricks?

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored the most hat-tricks in international football. Ronaldo has 10 trebles for Portugal, one more than Lionel Messi. 

Kaylan Geekie
Kaylan Geekie Sports Writer

Kaylan Geekie is a sports fanatic. He attended Durban High School before moving to Scotland, where he lived for 15 years. During his time in the United Kingdom, Kaylan graduated with a first-class BA Honours Degree in Sports Journalism at the University of the West of Scotland. Kaylan worked for nine years as the Match-Day Editor of, reporting on Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, the 2015 Men's Rugby World Cup and the 2017 British & Irish Lions series for the website.