Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi- Who Has More International Career Hat-tricks?

Published 10/13/2021, 2:29 PM EDT
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 12: FIFA Ballon d’Or nominees Lionel Messi of Argentina and FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid smile during the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala 2014 at the Kongresshaus on January 12, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)


The goal-scoring exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo are incredible. His hat-trick against Luxembourg last night marked his 10th hat-trick for Portugal. It is quite incredible to watch him play as he continues to defy the odds, even at 36. However, with this, the infamous Lionel Messi debate surfaces up once again.

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Which of the two maestros have the most international hat-tricks?

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Who has scored the most hat-tricks?

As of now, the Portuguese superstar leads the way with 10 international hat-tricks. However, Lionel Messi is right behind him at seven. His latest treble was against Bolivia during the Qatar World Cup qualifying match. Despite Ronaldo leading the charts, Messi is still two years younger than CR7 and he is far from done yet.

Ronaldo’s first hat-trick came against Northern Ireland back in 2013. Ever since, he has only seemed unstoppable on the international stage. Not to forget, his stoppage-time equalizing free-kick against Spain in the 2018 FIFA World Cup was a strike beyond mesmerizing.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 08: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus F.C. is put under pressure by Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Group G stage match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou on December 08, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

On the other hand, Messi scored his first hat-trick against Switzerland on 29th February 2012. He also scored a famous hat-trick against Brazil where he dribbles past the defenders and smashes the ball into the corner of the net. Moreover, his hat-trick against Ecuador took Argentina to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Both these players have scored tons of goals, etching their name in the history books of the game.

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Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo

When looking from their career perspective, Ronaldo edges past Messi in terms of hat-tricks scored with a 58-55 record. Significantly, CR7 has played two seasons more than Ronaldo. The breakdown of their hat-tricks looks stunning.

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With his games per hat-trick rate at 18.7, Ronaldo has consistently exhibited brilliance. But, 31 of his 58 hat tricks include penalties. Although this may not be an important statistic, fans would argue the fact that Messi has scored lesser penalties.

The little Argentinian has a 17.1 hat-tricks per game record while only 14 of his hat-tricks include penalties. With most goals scored from open-play, Messi has a significant advantage over Ronaldo when looking from this perspective. Moreover, both the players have scored eight hat-tricks in the Champions League.

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Regardless of who wins the GOAT debate, both Messi and Ronaldo remain two of the greatest players to have ever graced this sport. However, do you think Messi will surpass Ronaldo’s international hat-trick record?

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Jacob Gijy

481 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the center the respect he deserves.

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