Ademola Lookman

Three’s the Magic Number: Lookman Joins Ranks of Hat-Trick Heroes in Major European Finals

If we told you that a former Premier League star was going to score a hat-trick in a major final in 2024, you might be hoping that it was Harry Kane doing the honours for the Three Lions at the Euros. Perhaps that will still come to pass, but the player in question adding his name to a very small list of hat-trick heroes in major European finals in 2024 might just come as a surprise to some.

Ademola Lookman, once of Charlton, Everton, Fulham and Leicester City, has finally found a settled home at Italian outfit, Atalanta, with whom he reached the Europa League final against the previously-unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen in 2023/24. The Italians have never won a major trophy and have only one piece of silverware in their collection: the 1962/63 Coppa Italia.

They were up against it when taking on Leverkusen; Xabi Alonso’s all-conquering side that had swept to the German Bundesliga title on their way to compiling a European record for most unbeaten games. So there could be only one winner in the Europa League final in Dublin, right? The bookmakers certainly thought so, but Atalanta – and Lookman – hadn’t read the script. The forward scored twice in the first half, before completing his hat-trick in the 75th minute by firing into the top corner after outfoxing Edmond Tapsoba.

It was a first major success for Atalanta, while for Lookman it was a career highlight (so far) for an individual that has long been blessed with talent, but who hasn’t quite made it count on the big stage. Not anymore. No matter what else the 26-year-old achieves, his name will forever be on the list of players that have scored a hat-trick in a major continental final – a list, it so happens, that is small but perfectly-formed.

Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskás
Ferenc Puskás (

Top of the shop is Ferenc Puskás, one of the greatest footballers of all time and the only player to score hat-tricks in two continental finals. The Hungarian was, arguably, the beautiful game’s first megastar – an attacking player who, remarkably, ended his career with a goal ratio of better than one goal per game, despite making nearly 800 appearances!

An Olympic champion who also reached the World Cup final with Hungary in 1954, arguably the pinnacle of Puskás’ career was winning three European Cups with Real Madrid – the original precursor to the Champions League. He actually missed the 1958/59 final through injury, but played a huge hand in the Galacticos making it to the showpiece occasion in the first place, before making up for lost time the very next year – notching an incredible four goals in a 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1959/60 final.

But that wasn’t all. Puskás continued to lead the line for Madrid into the 1961/62 season despite nearing his 35th birthday, yet there was life in the old dog yet – confirmed when he netted another scintillating hat-trick in the European Cup final, this time in a 3-5 loss to Benfica. Given how few players have scored hat-tricks in major continental finals, it’s quite possible that Puskás’ feat of notching a treble twice will never be matched.

Alfredo Di Stefano

Alfredo Di Stefano
Alfredo Di Stefano (

The Galacticos tag was given to Real Madrid when their president, Florentino Perez, went on an orgy of spending in the early 2000s – with the aim of hoarding a galaxy of stars at the club. In truth, the moniker could had stood with the Madrid side of the early sixties, because Puskás was only one cog of a very well-oiled machine. There was the scheming midfielder Luis del Sol, slippery winger Paco Gento and the driving force that was Alfredo Di Stefano – considered by many to be one of the most influential players in history.

Nominally a midfielder, the Argentine – who would also go on to represent Spain at a time when the rules on international representation were relaxed to say the least – had a remarkable engine, powering forward and often getting on the end of chances created in a manner befitting his ‘Blond Arrow’ nickname.

Di Stefano scored an astonishing 500 goals for club and country – this is a midfielder, remember, with three of his most famous coming in the European Cup final of 1960. Yep, the very same final in which Puskás netted four times, Di Stefano also notched a hat-trick as Real confirmed their status as the greatest team on the planet.

Jupp Heynckes

Jupp Heynckes
Jupp Heynckes (Fotograaf Onbekend /

Jupp Heynckes is a name synonymous with top-class coaching – he won four Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich as manager, as well as a pair of Champions League triumphs with the Germans and Real Madrid. But Heynckes was a heck of a player in his own right. An intelligent striker, he notched 220 Bundesliga goals – still the fourth-highest tally in the competition’s history.

He was part of a Borussia Monchengladbach side that dominated domestic football in the 1970s, winning four Bundesliga titles, but they also had their moments on the continent too. Heynckes’ side would lose in the 1976/77 European Cup final to Liverpool, but two years earlier he had already made his mark on the big stage – scoring a hat-trick in Monchengladbach’s 5-1 win over Twente in the 1975 UEFA Cup (known as the Europa League today) final.

Pierino Prati

Pierino Prati
Pierino Prati (Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo /

While arguably the least decorated player on the rollcall, Pierino Prati will – nonetheless – be forever remembered for his night of magic at the Bernabeu Stadium in 1969. Prati is best known for his spell as a striker at AC Milan, where he won the Serie A title and two editions of the Cup Winners’ Cup.

But his best day came in the European Cup final of 1968/69, when he notched a hat-trick against Ajax – still the last player to bag a treble in the European Cup/Champions League final. For that alone, Pierino Prati is a name that will be long remembered. The Pest, as he was known, also won 14 caps for Italy – a short span in which he won a European Championship winners’ medal in 1968, plus a World Cup silver medal in 1970.