The greatest hat-trick ever scored.

November 20, 2008

I came across this spectacular show of exceptional skill and audaciousness again the other day and I can’t believe how good all three goals are.

The hat-trick in question was scored by Rivaldo on June 17th, 2001. It was the final game of the La Liga season, and Barcelona’s opponents were Valencia. Going into the final games Valencia sat 4th in La Liga, ahead of Barca. All Valencia had to do to hold 4th place and qualify for the Champions League was to not lose to Barca.

So, Rivaldo scored the first from a free kick 25 yards out. Then, as the first half draws to a close, he manages to smash one in from 25 yards again. It moves so viciously that the keeper doesn’t even get close to it (and it’s Canizares in goals, and he’s no slouch). Then the moment that still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

The game has 2 minutes left. It’s 2-2 and Barca are looking down the barrel of a humiliating result that will cost them millions of Euros by missing out on the lucrative Champions League. And up steps one of the most under-rated players of his day. Rivaldo gets the ball 20 yards out with his back to goal. And he takes a touch on his chest and then pulls off an overhead kick, with the ball at head-height, that arrows into the corner. Cue celebrations. And my nomination for the greatest hat-trick of all time.

If you’ve got a minute or two try searching for goals by Rivaldo on You Tube. You’ll be amazed and delighted. And if you know of a better hat-trick please do let me know.

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