A new season is upon us, and with it comes plenty of intriguing storylines. From massive traves and superstar uncertainty in the East to a West perhaps the deepest it has ever been, here is an early season NBA Power ranking.
The 10 Best Hat-Tricks Ever
I am here to discuss and rank what I believe to be the ten greatest hattricks ever. There are only two qualifiers I used: One, bangers only. The importance of the game matters some, but first and foremost is how good the goals were. Two, no hattricks that included a penalty make my list. We're talking about the best of the best here, and there is nothing special about scoring a penalty.
With that clear, let's get started.
10. Gareth Bale vs Inter - 2010
At number 10 is 21-year-old Gareth Bale scoring a hat trick against the defending Serie A and Champions League winners. The most impressive part of this hat trick is how much ball-carrying Bale did in the first two goals. In the first goal, he picks the ball up from his half and runs at the best right-back and center-back in the world at the time. For his second, Bale gains possession a little inside his half and terrorizes Maicon, Zanetti, and Julio Cesar again. Keep in mind he did this with Tottenham down a man after an early red card. They lost 4-3, but in Denzel Washington fashion, Bale said, "I'm leaving here with something."
9. Messi vs Brazil 4-3 - 2012
The Brazil-Argentina rivalry is the biggest in international soccer, and Messi made this game his playground in 2012. The 24-year-old was on a tear this year, and this hat trick is probably the best he's ever scored. And yes, I know he scored hattricks against Real Madrid twice and five goals against Bayer Leverkusen. But remember, the focus here is the raw quality of the goals.
For the first, he broke through on a pass and finished a 1 v 1 chance. Three minutes later, he had a similar opportunity and went around the goalkeeper. And to cap it, with the game tied 3-3 in the 85th minute, Messi picked the ball up at the halfway line, beat Marcelo one on one, drove down the field, and banged the ball into the upper 90 from 20 yards out.
8. Matt le Tissier vs Norwich - 1990
One of the best hattricks you've probably never seen from one of the best goal-scoring midfielders you've probably never heard of. The first goal was decent. Cross into the six, great control off the thigh, quick turn, bang, roof of the net. Yeah, cool the next two are nothing short of world-class. The second requires beating two defenders multiple times, and the hattrick goal is a 25-yard chip over the goalkeeper after picking the ball up at the halfway line and beating a defender.
7. Dennis Bergkamp vs Leicester City - 1997
The first goal is so well placed from outside the box that the goalkeeper doesn't even bother diving, the second goal requires a bit of luck, but the third is one of the best goals ever. A 60-yard ball over the top into the 18, three touches in the air to bring it down while simultaneously beating a defender, followed by perfect placement into the back of the net. One of those goals that make you think that some people have something special you can't teach.
6. Dimitar Berbatov vs Liverpool - 2010
Hattrick at home to beat your arch-rivals is a good start. The first and third goals are impressive headers from difficult positions, but it's the second goal that vaults this up the list. How's self-serving yourself a bicycle kick that goes in off the bottom of the crossbar? Insane technique by one of the most technical players in Premier League history.
5. Sinisa Mihajlovic vs Sampdoria - 1998
I have nothing to say here other than the fact that this man, a center back, scored a hattrick in a game, all from freekicks . . . yeah, that's top 10 material.
4. Carli Lloyd vs Japan - 2015
This hat trick is an inclusion aided by the importance of the game and the immense quality of the third goal. We're talking about a world cup final where Carli Lloyd completes a first-half hat trick only 16 minutes into the game by chipping the goalkeeper from midfield. It would be higher up the list, but the first two goals were tap-ins from corner kicks.
3. Luis Suarez vs Norwich - 2013
One of the most beautiful goal-scoring feats you'll ever see. Suarez was generous enough to give us four goals on this day. The first was a volley from 35 yards out, the second is a left-footed volley right outside the six-yard box, the third is yet another volley with the addition of a flick over a defender's head, and the fourth is a freekick because, of course it is. Any striker would be proud to have any of those goals in their end-of-career highlight tape; Luis Suarez did it all in 74 minutes. LOL.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs England - 2012
Zlatan versus England comes in as the second-greatest hat trick ever scored. This would rank first if this were a list of the best 4 goal performances. Goal 1 is decent, goal 2 is good, goal 3 is world-class, and goal 4 is one of the best goals ever. To score a 35-yard free kick in a game, and it's not your best work of the day, tells you what you need to know. Zlatan really saved his best for last by scoring a 25-yard bicycle kick that later won the Puskas award.
1. Rivaldo vs Valencia - 2001
A free kick, a screamer, and a bicycle kick all from outside the box, all in the same game- And somehow, that does not do Rivaldo's hattrick justice. One of the most legendary goalscoring exploits we have ever seen lands atop the list because of the immense quality of the goals and the clutchness of it all.
Heading into the last game of the 2000-01 La Liga season, Valencia was 4th with 63 points, and Barcelona was 5th with 60. A tie or win for Valencia meant they would qualify for the Champions League, whereas Barcelona needed a win to surpass Valencia on goal difference and make the Champions League. The game was as close to a final as you can get during a league season. Rivaldo won the game 3-2 in the 89th minute while simultaneously completing his hat trick with a bicycle kick from the edge of the 18. The rest is history. Rivaldo 3-2 Valencia.
Just look at the faces of Rivaldo's teammates and coaches as relief and awe wash over them. This performance is the greatest hat trick of all time.
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