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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The five players to score a hat-trick in a European final

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Ademola Lookman etched his name into the history books on Wednesday night after scoring a hat-trick in Atalanta’s Europa League final win in Dublin.

Lookman scored all three goals as Atalanta ended Bayer Leverkusen’s long unbeaten run to claim a first-ever European trophy and a first major honour in 61 years.

It was a stunning performance from the London-born Nigeria international, who became just the fifth player to score a hat-trick in the final of a major UEFA competition.

Here are the five players to have achieved the feat.

Ferenc Puskas, Real Madrid – European Cup (1960 & 1962)

Ferenc Puskas holds the unique distinction of being the only player to score hat-tricks in two major UEFA competition finals, having netted three times in European Cup finals for Real Madrid in 1960 and 1962.

The Spanish side dominated the early editions of the European Cup to win the first five trophies in succession, with the fifth of those regarded as arguably the greatest club performance of all time. Puskas starred as Los Blancos thrashed Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 at Hampden Park, scoring four times against the Bundesliga side.

💫 Seventeen years since Puskas left us.#RealMadrid pic.twitter.com/6bw2ea7YPB

— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) November 17, 2023

Two years later, the “Galloping Major” scored a second European Cup final hat-trick, though ended on the losing side as Real Madrid lost 5-3 to a Eusebio-inspired Benfica.

Alfredo Di Stéfano, Real Madrid – European Cup final (1960)

Alfredo Di Stéfano was the driving force of Real Madrid’s early dominance of European competition, winning five consecutive European Cups with the Spanish side and scoring in each final success.

The fifth triumph saw Di Stéfano combine with the aforementioned Puskas to dismantle Eintracht Frankfurt, with each netting a hat-trick in the 7-3 win over the Germans.

Di Stéfano, who ended his career with Real Madrid with 308 goals in 396 games and twice won the Ballon d’Or, scored three in Glasgow with Puskas on the scoresheet four times.

Pierino Prati, AC Milan – European Cup Final (1969)

AC Milan were crowned champions of Europe for a second time during the 1968-69 season after thrashing Ajax 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Pierino Prati opened the scoring on seven minutes and ended the contest with the match ball, scoring his second to double the lead before half-time before completing his hat-trick on 75 minutes.

As part of an excellent partnership with Gianni Rivera, Prati helped Milan to a wealth of success on the international stage with a European Cup and two European Cup Winner’s Cup triumphs between 1968 and 1973. He also formed part of the Italy team that won the European Championship in 1968 and reached the World Cup final two years later.

Jupp Heynckes, Borussia Monchengladbach – UEFA Cup final (1975)

Jupp Heynckes became the first player to score a UEFA Cup final hat-trick as Borussia Monchengladbach thrashed FC Twente in 1975.

A goalless draw in Germany in the first meeting of a two-legged final appeared to have handed Twente the advantage ahead of the return before Monchengladbach ran riot to claim a 5-1 win.

Heynckes scored three times, with 1977 Ballon d’Or winner Allan Simonsen on target twice, as Monchengladbach avenged a final defeat to Liverpool two seasons earlier.

Heynckes, who is the fourth-highest goalscorer in the history of the Bundesliga with 220 goals, later managed Monchengladbach to the UEFA Cup (1979) and also coached Real Madrid (1998) and Bayern Munich (2013) to Champions League wins in a decorated managerial career.

Ademola Lookman, Atalanta – Europa League final (2024)

Ademola Lookman became the first player in 49 years to score a hat-trick in a major European final after scoring all three goals in Atalanta’s 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen this week.

Atalanta headed into the clash as underdogs against a Leverkusen team unbeaten in almost a year and crowned Bundesliga champions for the first time this season, but produced a brilliant performance of intense pressing football.

Lookman ghosted in front of Exequiel Palacios to turn in an early opener before doubling Atalanta’s lead in Dublin with a stunning second. He nutmegged Granit Xhaka and bent a brilliant finish into the far corner to send the Italian contingent inside the Aviva Stadium wild.

What it means 🥹#UELfinal pic.twitter.com/XTgCQ4KsGq

— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 22, 2024

The 26-year-old completed his hat-trick late on with a thumping finish to crown the greatest night of the Gian Piero Gasperini era at Atalanta. His place in the club’s folklore is assured.

Read – Five of the most memorable Europa League finals

See more – Five iconic individual Champions League performances

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