Scoring a hat trick in any game is a difficult feat unless you’re Messi or Ronaldo who do it for fun. Scoring a hat trick in Europa or the Champions League as a teenager is a highly regarded feat even for Messi and Ronaldo.
Originally published on 90min on September, 24.
There are a handful of players that have managed to score hat tricks at a crazy young age in two of the biggest competitions in the world. While us mere mortals were either just finishing up at school or starting at college or university, these young players were scoring hat tricks either in the Champions League or the Europa League.
These were the games that no one will forget and that will be brought up for centuries. Starting from the oldest youngster, here is the list:
5. Marko Pjaca [19 years and 219 days]
Marko Pjaca walked so Joao Felix could run basically. Pjaca previously held the record for the youngest player to score a hat trick in the Europa League. In 2014 at 19 years old, Pjaca scored a hat trick for Dinamo Zagreb against Celtic with only three shots on target.
The game was tight and ended 4-3 but Pjaca managed to single handily get all 3 points for his team. Although Dinamo Zagreb did not progress from the competitions group stages, they definitely left with all the back-page headlines for the next morning’s paper run.
4. Joao Felix [19 years and 153 days]
He’s dubbed as Portugal’s future and Joao Felix has proven why since the day he walked onto the field for Benfica. In his wonder season, the Portuguese international grabbed the attention of various European clubs with his 20 goals and 11 assists in his last season at the Portuguese club. His hat trick in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt has now made him the youngest player to score a hat trick in the Europa League.
3. Erling Braut Haland [19 years and 58 days]
Remember the name! The only teenager other than Wayne Rooney to score more than one goal on their Champions League debut is Erling Braut Haland. Red Bull Salzburg thrashed Gent 6-2 with Haland stealing the show with his three excellent goals. Goal scoring has become a reflex for the Austrian with 17 goals in 9 games, but he definitely won’t forget those three goals.
2. Wayne Rooney [18 years and 339 days]
In 2004 Manchester United played Fernerbache in the Champions’ League group stages. It would be the game that announced Wayne Rooney to the world as a red devil. A powerful 18-year-old stormed through Old Trafford and silenced any critics that felt his move from Everton was premature. On his Champions League debut and returning from injury, Rooney sliced Fenerbache apart three times to score his first Champions League hat trick. A debut that will be hard to forget.
- Raul [18 years and 114 days]
In 1995, before Joao Felix was a twinkle in his mom and dad’s eyes, Raul played for Real Madrid vs Ferencvaros. In only his third Champions League appearance for the Los Blancos, Raul impressed at the Bernabeu in Madrid’s emphatic 6-1 over Ferencvaros. Although Madrid didn’t go on to win the coveted trophy that year, Raul made his mark that has been impossible to erase. The Spaniard still holds the record for the youngest player to score a hat trick in the Champions League.