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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 scored more in the knockout rounds'
'Yes, but I 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.

They have also scored an identical number of domestic league hat-tricks. With their ongoing race to be the top scorer in UEFA competition on hold due to coronavirus, 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 v Arsenal18 September 2018 v PSV
Spanish Liga3610 March 2007 v Real Madrid22 February 2020 v Eibar
Copa del Rey36 January 2009 v Atlético3 February 2016 v Valencia
Spanish Super Cup121 August 2010 v Sevilla21 August 2010 v Sevilla
International629 February 2012 v Switzerland29 May 2018 v Haiti

Of Messi's eight UEFA 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 netted 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 matchday 2's trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach through injury.

Ronaldo on 15 years at the top with Messi
Ronaldo on 15 years at the top with Messi

Messi broke Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 34 Liga hat-tricks with a treble agaist Mallorca in December 2019. February'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.

Ronaldo's hat-tricks by numbers

CompetitionHat-tricksFirst hat-trickMost recent hat-trick
UEFA Champions League83 October 2012 v Ajax12 March 2019 v Atlético
Domestic league3612 January 2008 v Newcastle6 January 2020 v Cagliari
Domestic cup222 December 2010 v Levante9 January 2013 v Celta Vigo
FIFA Club World Cup118 December 2016 v Kashima Antlers18 December 2016 v Kashima Antlers
International96 September 2013 v Northern Ireland14 November 2019 v Lithuania

Of Ronaldo's 56 career hat-tricks, eight have come in the UEFA 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 and 35 days) the oldest hat-trick scorer in the competition's history.

Like Messi, Ronaldo notched trebles in consecutive UEFA 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 (one in England, 34 in Spain and one in Itay) 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 bagged 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 UEFA Champions League in 2016/17, then registered his only UEFA 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, Portugal56
Lionel MessiBarcelona, Argentina54
Luis SuárezAjax, Liverpool, Barcelona, Uruguay29
Robert LewandowskiBorussia Dortmund, Bayern München, Poland20
Sergio AgüeroAtlético Madrid, Manchester City, Argentina18
Edinson CavaniNapoli, Paris, Uruguay15

Last updated: 24/04/20