The perfect hat-trick is something which plenty of strikers aim for, but few accomplish.
It comprises one goal with the right foot, one with the left foot, and one with the head, all within the same game, and you need look no further than the history of the Premier League to understand how rare an achievement it is.
Just 31 have pulled it off in nearly 28 Premier League seasons, with Christian Pulisic the most recent to add his name to that particular list, with only Robbie Fowler and Sergio Agüero doing it more than once.
It’s not just a Premier League thing, though, so here we’ve taken a look at the finest examples from England and further afield.
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Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea v Tottenham, 2002)
There’s never too much variation on the headed part of the hat-trick (though there is some, as you’ll see later on), so it’s often on the other two legs to do the heavy lifting.
That’s certainly true of Hasselbaink’s treble against Spurs, which includes not one but two exquisitely curled efforts to beat goalkeeper Neil Sullivan.
After scrambling and getting nowhere near the Dutchman’s first effort, Sullivan was probably thinking “well, at least I won’t have to do that again”. Guess again, Neil.
Bas Dost (Wolfsburg v Bayer Leverkusen, 2015)
Speaking of carbon copy goals, Dost essentially scored the same one twice in a win at Leverkusen, flicking in with the outside of his right boot in the first half and doing the same to volley home with his left in stoppage time and seal a remarkable 5-4 win.
There was also time for a stooping header and a powerful finish into the top corner – that’s right, the perfect hat-trick came as part of a four-goal haul.
Want another tidbit to remind you how preposterous this match was? Son Heung-min also scored a hat-trick for Leverkusen. And ended on the losing side.
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Peter Crouch (Liverpool v Arsenal, 2007)
I’ve waxed lyrical about Crouch’s third on these pages before, a stunning piece of close control and movement to leave Arsenal’s defence on the floor before finding the top corner, but it’s easy to forget it was just one-third of one of the best perfect hat-tricks the Premier League has seen.
The first saw Crouch use his long limbs to good effect, stretching to turn in a low cross from the right, while the second – a towering header from Fábio Aurélio’s cross, was the kind of goal people claimed he always scored but which were actually reasonably rare.
We wouldn’t be talking about any of this were it not for the third, though, so drink it in.
Didier Drogba (Chelsea v Wigan, 2010)
One up from the perfect hat-trick is the German definition of the perfect hat-trick. It’s still a right foot, left foot, header job, but it also needs to take place in one half of football, and with no one else interrupting it with a goal of their own.
Not only did Drogba pull off the feat for Chelsea, but he did so in a 20-minute spell, during a match which the Blues needed to win to be crowned Premier League champions.
When you do that, the overall quality of the goals barely even matters.
Michel Platini (France v Yugoslavia, 1984)
We’re going to put it out there: scoring two hat-tricks in a single tournament group stage is pretty good. Scoring the winner in the other game as well elevates it.
Think it can’t get better? Let us remind you of Michel Platini’s crowning Euro 84 achievement. Yes, it’s more important than his goals in the semi and final, shut up.
Against Yugoslavia, the Frenchman scored a perfect hat-trick. The German kind. In 18 minutes. To turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. Having already scored a hat-trick in the previous game.
Oh, and he rounded it off with an unstoppable free-kick, though we’d have forgiven goalkeeper Zoran Simović had just stayed where he was and let it go in without a fight. You know, just out of respect.
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