Riyad Mahrez recently christened his Champions League debut with two goals against Club Brugge, but can you remember who has gone one better by scoring a hat-trick on debut? We pay homage to the seven players who’ve achieved the feat, while also looking at other notable debutants
[Manchester United 6-2 Fenerbahce, September 2004]
Arguably the most mesmerising Champions League debut, Wayne Rooney's excursions for England during Euro 2004 alerted the continent's elite to his growing potential, with Manchester United prising the forward from Everton in a £27m deal, a record fee for a teenager at the time. Having seen his European Championship end prematurely due to injury, the Old Trafford faithful would have to wait until their opening match of the 2004-05 campaign against Fenerbahce for the ‘boy wonder' to make his bow, and he wouldn't disappoint, scoring after 17 minutes with his first chance. Rooney would go on to complete a memorable hat-trick in a 6-2 win for United, duly announcing himself in Europe's premier club competition.
[Newcastle United 3-2 Barcelona, September 1997]
Newcastle United would make their Champions League debut in front of an expectant St. James' park crowd in 1997, though it would come against the might of Spanish giants Barcelona. The visitors boasted an array of attacking options that included Rivaldo, Sonny Anderson and a certain Pep Guardiola, while the Magpies were without star forward Alan Shearer, missing through injury. However, little did they know that they would be in for one of their greatest European nights, thanks in part to Asprilla. The Colombian had put Newcastle ahead from the penalty spot, before firing two headers past Dutch goalkeeper Rudd Hesp to compete his hat-trick and leave the home side 3-0 up after 49 minutes. Although the Spanish giants would pull a couple of goals back to ensure a nervy finish, nothing would take the limelight away from Asprilla's feat.
[Porto 6-0 BATE Borisov, September 2014]
Porto became the first Portuguese side to score six goals in the competition following their thumping of Bate Borisov in September 2014, with Algerian international Yacine Brahimi claiming half of those goals. Brahimi took advantage of some good fortune after BATE goalkeeper Sergei Chernik threw the ball to him, firing in from a tight angle after just five minutes, while his second was nothing short of spectacular, collecting the ball from his own half before evading a couple of challenges and unleashing a fizzing shot that went in off he post. The Algerian would cap his fine display with another excellent effort in the 57th minute, curling a free-kick into the back of the net.
Marco Van Basten
[AC Milan 4-0 IFK Göteborg, November 1992]
Dutch legend Marco Van Basten had already been productive during the old European Champions Cup format, though the inaugural Champions League campaign in 1992-93 would see him continue his prolificness in front of goal, putting Swedish club IFK Göteborg to the sword with four goals. Van Basten had opened the scoring with a wonderful acrobatic effort, later adding a second. The forward then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, but there was still time for him to make history, adding another to become the first player to score four times in one match in the competition's new format. Sadly this would prove to be Van Basten's final season, as persistent ankle trouble would force him into early retirement.
[Wolfsburg 3-1 CSKA Moscow, September 2009]
Brazilian Grafite had struck up an impressive partnership with Edin Dzeko that had led Wolfsburg to the 2009 Bundesliga title, and the forward would mark the German side's first game in the competition with a treble against CSKA Moscow in September 2009. Grafite had opened the scoring in the 35th minute, later doubling his tally from the penalty spot after being fouled in the box. With the game approaching the final three minutes the striker completed his hat-trick, sealing a wonderful night at the Volkswagen Arena for the newcomers.
[Maccabi Haifa 3-0 Olympiacos, September 2002]
Having missed Maccabi Haifa's opening-night defeat to Manchester United through suspension, Yakubu Ayegbeni would be given the opportunity to showcase his talents in the Israeli club's ‘home' tie against Olympiacos, played in Cyprus. Despite enjoying the majority of possession, the Greek side would fail to make their pressure pay, and they would be punished in an efficient manner by the Nigerian forward. Yakubu gave Maccabi the lead in the 27th minute with a well-taken penalty, later adding a second on the hour-mark before claiming his treble with an impressive finish. The forward's antics would catch the attention of Premier League side Portsmouth, enjoying further spells at Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn Rovers.
[Udinese 3-0 Panathinaikos, September 2005]
Italian side Udinese would welcome Panathinaikos to the Stadio Friuli in September 2005, and their Italian international Vincenzo Iaquinta would christen the club's first appearance in club football's premier competition with a debut hat-trick. The powerful striker gave Udinese the lead with a firm header, while his second came in the 73rd minute, latching onto Antonio Di Natale‘s ball before rounding goalkeeper Mario Galinović. Iaquinta would then compete a dream start to his Champions League career with a fierce finish that meant victory for Udinese was beyond doubt.
Other notable debutants
[Club Brugge 0-3 Leicester City, September 2016]
Leicester City's Premier League title success in 2016 had caught the imagination of the footballing world, though their Champions League bow was still met with intrigue prior to their opening tie against Club Brugges However, any doubts were soon dispelled, as the Foxes ran out comfortable victors in Belgium. The team's collective strength had been offset by the attacking prowess of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez during their title run, and the latter would gain the majority of attention, firstly curling in a wonderful fee-kick before dispatching a penalty, leaving nobody in doubt that his league form could be replicated on Europe's biggest club stage.
[AS Roma 1-2 CFR Cluj, September 2008]
Romanian champions CFR Cluj were something of an unknown quantity when making their Champions League debut against AS Roma during the 2008-09 campaign, and they would mark their inaugural game in the competition with a shock victory over the Italian side in their Stadio Olimpico stadium, thanks to a double from Juan Culio. The match appeared to be following its predicted pattern after Christian Panucci have given Roma the lead after 17 minutes, but the visitors would come roaring back into the contest after Culio struck an equaliser. The Argentine would then volley in the winner early in the second half to seal a memorable occasion for both the player and team.
[Bayern Munich 7-1 Sporting, March 2009]
A native of southern Bavaria, Thomas Müller would follow in the footsteps of legendary namesake forward Gerd by adorning the Bayern Munich strip in 2009. With Bayern romping to victory in their round of 16 tie against Sporting, the 19-year-old was given his chance to shine as a 72nd minute substitute for Bastian Schweinsteiger. The forward would display the combativeness and attacking instincts that he has become his trademark today, poking home on his debut in the 90th minute. Müller would go on to become a regular in the team the following season, playing a prominent role in Bayern’s run to the 2010 final.