The Champions League is undoubtedly the pinnacle of club football, though throughout the competition’s history we’ve seen some precocious talents successfully scale the dizzying heights of the European game early in their fledgeling careers.
Already this season we’ve seen some talented teenagers make their impression, with two starlets joining an exclusive list of wonderkids to have earned the match ball by netting a hat-trick on the biggest stage.
Here are the five teenagers to score a Champions League hat-trick:
Raul – Real Madrid vs Ferencvaros (October 18, 1995)
The youngest treble goalscorer in the history of the Champions League, Real Madrid icon Raul would score a hat-trick aged just 18 years and 114 days against Hungarian side Ferencvaros in October 1995.
The Spanish star’s hat-trick would help the La Liga giants to a comprehensive 6-1 victory at the Bernabeu, Raul’s history making haul part of 71 scored in Europe’s premier competition – with only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi having netted more.
Throughout his illustrious career Raul would lift the trophy on three occasions, scoring in final victories in 2000 and 2002 over Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen respectively.
Yakubu – Maccabi Haifa vs Olympiakos (September 24, 2002)
Former Portsmouth, Everton and Middlesbrough striker Yakubu would join the exclusive list of teenage treble scorers back in 2002, the Nigerian scoring a hat-trick for Israeli side Maccabi Haifa against Olympiakos during the 2002/03 group stage.
That campaign would also see a 19-year-old Yakubu score in a victory against Manchester United, the forward’s performances attracting the interest of English sides and he would move to Portsmouth the following year.
The burly striker would enjoy a successful period in English football, only Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Adebaoyr having scored more goals amongst African players, though he would never return to the Champions League after leaving Maccabi Haifa.
Wayne Rooney – Manchester United vs Fenerbahce (September 28, 2004)
One of the most iconic hat-tricks in Champions League history?
An 18-year-old Wayne Rooney would announce himself as a Manchester United hero with a stunning debut hat-trick, dismantling Turkish side Fenerbahce with an exhilarating performance on his first appearance in European competition.
Rooney would waste little time in proving himself following his summer move from Everton, the teenager showing ability beyond his tender years with three finishes of the highest quality.
Few players have created as much excitement as a teenage Rooney, the forward going on to become the greatest goalscorer in the history of both club and country and winning a host of major honours including the 2008 Champions League.
Erling Braut Haaland – Red Bull Salzburg vs Genk (September 17, 2019)
Every so often there is a sudden emergence of a hugely talented youngster, and this season has been the year of Norwegian sensation Erling Haaland.
The 19-year-old has burst onto the scene following a prolific season for Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg, scoring 28 goals in all competitions over the first half of the season including eight in just six Champions League group stage game this term.
Like the aforementioned Rooney, Haaland would mark his first ever appearances at this level with a hat-trick against Genk in September, his goalscoring exploits soon attracting interest from across the continent.
Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund would win the race for the highly coveted teenager, Haaland already adding two more goals to his Champions League haul in the Germans 2-1 last 16 first-leg win over Paris Saint-Germain last night.
1 – Erling Håland 🇳🇴 has become the first player to score 4 goals with his first 4 shots in the Champions League since Opta analyses the competition (2003/04)
⚽️⚽️⚽️ v Genk
⚽️ v Liverpool
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 3, 2019
Rodrygo – Real Madrid vs Galatasaray (November 7, 2019)
The newest inclusion to this list and the second youngest hat-trick scorer in Champions League history, Real Madrid’s Rodrygo would announce himself with a treble against Galatasaray in November aged just 18 years and 301 days.
The Brazilian starlet arrived in a €45m deal last summer but his signing was largely overshadowed by the additions of Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, however, the attacking midfielder may just prove to be the best acquisition of the lot.
The youngster has made a promising start to life at the Bernabeu, his hat-trick coming in the perfect fashion of left foot, right foot and header – making him the youngest player ever to achieve the feat in Champions League history.