Scoring a goal, never mind a hat-trick at any level of football is one of the most difficult tasks in football. 

And netting three times or more in international football is even more challenging considering the paucity of national team matches these days coupled with the high qualify action as well as the opposition in most cases on the international stage.

Having said that, there have been some players who have managed to make the international stage their own by scoring consistently for their respective countries.

The likes of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, both of whom have netted more than 100 times on the international stage, are prime examples of such individuals.

While scoring in abundance for their national teams, several players have also managed to notch up quite a few hat-tricks in a match.

Here, we have a look at those players who have scored the most hat-tricks in international football.

Most hat-tricks in international football

Player International Hat-tricks
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) 10
Sven Rydell (Sweden) 9
Lionel Messi (Argentina) 9
Poul Nielsen (Denmark) 8
Ali Daei (Iran) 8

Cristiano Ronaldo | 10 hat-tricks

The leading goal-scorer in the history of football, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo also tops the charts for most hat-tricks in international football with 10. The Portuguese legend is on top of the leaderboard for most hat-tricks among active football players (62) and is currently the only individual in the history of the sport to register hat-tricks in double digits on the international stage. The sole player to score 10 international hat-tricks in football, Ronaldo’s first international hat-trick came against Northern Ireland in September 2013 while his last was against Luxembourg in October 2021.

Sven Rydell | 9 hat-tricks

Second on the list for most hat-tricks in international football is Sweden’s Sven Rydell, who scored nine trebles for his nation. One of the best strikers to ever emerge from the Scandinavian nation, Rydell netted 49 times in 43 games for Sweden and was the country’s leading goal-scorer for 80 years before the enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic surpassed his tally in 2014. What’s most impressive about Rydell’s feat is that he took just 43 games to net nine hat-tricks, which makes for one of the best games-to-goal as well as games-to-hat-tricks ratios in the history of football.

Lionel Messi | 9 hat-tricks

Ronaldo’s eternal football rival Lionel Messi is third on the list of most hat-tricks on the international stage. The Argentine World Cup winner has netted nine hat-tricks for La Albiceleste over the course of his career. Overall, Messi has netted 57 hat-tricks for club and country till now, putting him five behind Ronaldo’s 62 career hat-tricks. He scored his first international hat-trick in just his sixth cap for Argentina in 2006 while his last hat-trick in national colours came against Curacao in 2023.

Photo credit: Alamy