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Messi v Ronaldo: Who is the hat-trick king?

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have hit more trebles than any other UEFA Champions League players.

'Yes, but I've scored more in the knockout rounds'
'Yes, but I've scored more in the knockout rounds' UEFA via Getty Images

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo share the record for the most hat-tricks in UEFA Champions League history, with eight each.

UEFA.com breaks down the modern masters' treble pedigree.

Messi's hat-tricks by numbers

CompetitionHat-tricksFirst hat-trickMost recent hat-trick
UEFA Champions League84 April 2010 vs Arsenal18 September 2018 vs PSV
Domestic league3610 March 2007 vs Real Madrid22 February 2020 vs Eibar
Domestic cup36 January 2009 vs Atlético3 February 2016 vs Valencia
Spanish Super Cup121 August 2010 vs Sevilla21 August 2010 vs Sevilla
International829 February 2012 vs Switzerland5 June 2022 vs Estonia

Of Messi's eight Champions League hat-tricks, two have come in the knockout stage: he scored five in a 7-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16 second leg in March 2012 having previously hit four against Arsenal in the sides' quarter-final second leg in April 2010.

The Argentinian hit back-to-back hat-tricks in the 2016/17 group stage, scoring three against both Celtic on Matchday 1 and Manchester City on Matchday 3, having missed the Matchday 2 trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach through injury.

Ronaldo on 15 years at the top with Messi

Messi broke Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 34 Liga hat-tricks with a treble against Mallorca in December 2019. February 2020's trio of strikes against Eibar moved his total on to 36.

Valencia, Osasuna, Espanyol and Deportivo have been Messi's favoured opponents in the Liga, the No10 claiming hat-tricks against each on three separate occasions (he has a Copa del Rey treble against Valencia too). Messi also has three hat-tricks against Sevilla, including two in the Liga and one in the Spanish Super Cup, and three against Atlético – two Liga and one Copa del Rey.

At international level, Messi broke new ground with his most recent hat-trick: he ended up scoring all five of Argentina's goals in a 5-0 friendly win against Estonia in Pamplona, Spain, in April 2022.

Ronaldo's hat-tricks by numbers

CompetitionHat-tricksFirst hat-trickMost recent hat-trick
UEFA Champions League83 October 2012 vs Ajax12 March 2019 vs Atlético
Domestic league3912 January 2008 vs Newcastle16 April 2022 vs Norwich
Domestic cup222 December 2010 vs Levante9 January 2013 vs Celta Vigo
FIFA Club World Cup118 December 2016 vs Kashima Antlers18 December 2016 vs Kashima Antlers
International106 September 2013 vs Northern Ireland12 October 2021 vs Luxembourg

Of Ronaldo's 60 career hat-tricks, eight have come in the Champions League (seven for Real Madrid, one for Juventus) – with four of those in the knockout stage. His treble for Juve against Atlético on 12 March 2019 made him, at 34 years 35 days, the oldest hat-trick scorer in the competition's history.

Like Messi, Ronaldo hit trebles in consecutive Champions League games in the 2016/17 campaign – in a quarter-final scalp of Bayern and then in a semi-final against Real Madrid's city rivals Atlético.

Ronaldo has claimed hat-tricks in three European leagues (three in England, 34 in Spain and two in Italy) but his only domestic cup trebles both came in Spain's Copa del Rey.

Of all the teams he has faced, Sevilla may have the least fond memories of Ronaldo – he scored five hat-tricks against them in total. He also got three trebles against Getafe and Espanyol in the Spanish Liga, and the same number against Celta Vigo (two in the league, one in the cup).

His three hat-tricks against Madrid's neighbours Atlético may have been especially galling; he scored trebles against them in the Liga and Champions League in 2016/17, then registered his only Champions League trio for Juventus against Atleti in 2018/19.

How do those numbers compare with their contemporaries?

PlayerClubs and countryCareer hat-tricks
Cristiano RonaldoManchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Portugal60
Lionel MessiBarcelona, Argentina56
Luis SuárezNacional, Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona, Atlético, Uruguay29
Robert LewandowskiBorussia Dortmund, Bayern München, Barcelona, Poland29
Sergio AgüeroAtlético Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Argentina18
Edinson CavaniNapoli, Paris, Manchester United, Valencia, Uruguay15
Erling HaalandBryne, Molde, Salzburg, Dortmund, Manchester City, Norway 15
Kylian MbappéMonaco, Paris, France13

Stats correct as at 14 December 2022.