Lionel Messi managed to score his 50th professional hat-trick last Saturday, and given the crucial ties that Barcelona will have to face from here until the end of the season, we
Yes, 50 hat-tricks represent having scored 150 goals in just 50 games, which is a number that not many strikers will ever reach. Once we've gotten that out of the way, here's a list of ten facts that come from looking at those games when Messi found the back of the net three times...or more.
1. 2012, Leo's best year for a hat-trick
Leo netted a personal best record of 6 La Liga hat-tricks in the 2012 calendar year, more than in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2017 where he scored at least three goals in a single match in four different games.
2. There's no place like home in UEFA Champions League games for Messi
All of Messi's eight hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League have come at the Camp Nou. The last one of them took place during the 2018-19 UCL, when Barcelona defeated PSV 4-0.
3. Argentina thrives when Messi scored three
Argentina won all of the games in which Messi scored a hat-trick; this includes a 4-3 win over bitter continental rivals Brazil in June 2012. Messi accomplished his last hat-trick with Argentina during the build-up to the 2018 World Cup, in a friendly game that ended with a 5-0 win for la Albiceleste.
4. Real Madrid, the one that got away
Messi's first hat-trick came against Real Madrid, back in the 2006-07 season. Incidentally, that game was the only one in which Barcelona was not able to win despite Messi's goalscoring antics. That game ended in a 3-3 draw.
5. Valencia, Messi's favorite "hat-trick client"
The games between Valencia and Barcelona tend to be quite intense, but Messi has found a way to terrorize Los Naranjeros' defenders over and over again. Messi has scored four hat-tricks against Valencia, with the last of them taking place on February 3, 2016. That game ended in a 7-0 blowout for Los Blaugranas.
6. Messi's hat-trick ability has an effect on Barcelona's defense
Out of those 50 games that have seen "La Pulga" hitting the back of the net three times, Barcelona's defense has been able to hold it's own 25 times. Deportivo pushed Barcelona's defense to the limit back in 2012, when their clash ended in a 5-4 score.
7. Messi could make El Clásico history with one more hat-trick
They say that records are established so that players can break them. Lionel Messi is on the verge of doing so against Real Madrid, since he is one of five players to score two hat-tricks for either side. His last hat-trick against Real Madrid came in 2014...time for a do-over?
8. When three goals are not enough...
Messi's goalscoring antics have seen him score 50 hat-tricks for club and country, but sometimes three goals don't seem to be enough. Out of those times in which he's scored three times, Messi has gone on to score four goals in a single game three times (the last one against Eibar in 2017). But if that was not enough, he managed to score five times against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 for an all-time high in his career.
9. Messi can do it away from home
Lionel Messi has managed to score a hat-trick in sixteen away games for club and country. In fact, his most recent La Liga hat-tricks have taken place away from Camp Nou stadium.
10. Why Osasuna will never forget Messi's hat-trick displays
The former La Liga side endured three of Messi's hat-tricks while playing in the Spanish top flight, but they surely would have tried a little harder to avoid such embarrassing results. In those three games, Barcelona scored a whopping twenty goals against Los Rojillos, including a 7-0 blowout and an even worse 8-0 result back in 2011.