Moroccan striker follows in Olunga’s footsteps to make history in La Liga

Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri made history on Sunday 10 February by becoming the first ever player in CD Leganes’ history to score a hat-trick in the Spanish topflight La Liga; the fete equaling that of Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga who became the first ever player to bag a treble for Girona FC in the top tier more than a year earlier.

13 months

En-Nesyri’s hat-trick came in the 3-0 win over Real Betis at the Butarque Stadium in Leganes, 13 months on after Olunga had grabbed his in January 2018 in a 6-0 dismissal of Las Palmas. The goals also saw Olunga become the first ever Kenyan to score in the league.

Michael Olunga netted a treble for Girona FC during his loan spell at the club back in 2018

21 year old En-Nesyri who has been capped 21 times by the Atlas Lions, is now the fifth Moroccan to score three goals in a single match in La Liga, a list that was begun by Larbi Ben Barek in 1949. Barek’s triple for Atletico Madrid against Espanyol in September of 1949 is also the first ever hat-trick ever registered by an African player in the league’s history.

Twelve players since then have netted hat-tricks in Spain with former Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto’o leading the way with three, all scored in 2008 for Barcelona.

Four time African player of the year Eto’o is also the only African player to have scored four goals in a single match, this he did in November 2008 in a 6-0 win over Valladolid. He spent 12 years in Spain playing for five different clubs including Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid.

More than one

Eto’o, Barek (2) and Youssef El Arabi (2) are the only players with more than one hat-trick.

Samuel Eto’o leads the way for hat-tricks scored in La Liga by an African player with three

Other players in the list are Emmanuel Adebayor (Real Madrid), Cedric Bakambu (Villareal), Ikechuku Uche (Rayo Vallecano), Kalu Uche (Espanyol), Youssef EL Arabi (Granada), Mounir El Hamadoui (Malaga), Mohammed Mahjoub (Racing Santander) and Chicha (Atletico Tetuan).

Cristiano Ronaldo leads the league’s all-time list of hat-tricks scored with the now Juventus forward having registered 34 of those in his nine year spell with Real Madrid between 2009 and 2018.

Lionel Messi follows him closely with 31.