(Reuters) - Real Betis captain Joaquin Sanchez wrote himself into the history books on Sunday with a treble against Athletic Bilbao which meant he became the oldest player to score a hat-trick in La Liga.
The midfielder, 38, who is in his second spell with boyhood club Betis, gave his side the lead against Athletic in the second minute before striking again in the 11th.
He made it 3-0 with a superb first-time finish into the bottom corner in the 20th minute, scoring his first ever treble in a competitive game, more than 19 years after making his professional debut.
It was Joaquin’s fifth goal in the last three games and saw him overtake the late Alfredo di Stefano as the oldest player to score a La Liga hat-trick, whose last treble was in 1964 when he was 37.
Athletic hit back through a Inaki Williams penalty to make it 3-1 before halftime and Yuri Berchiche further reduced the deficit in the second period but Betis held on to record a third consecutive win which took them up to 11th in the standings.
“I have never been a big goalscorer so to score three goals against a side like Athletic makes me very proud, especially at my age which makes it even harder,” Joaquin told reporters.
“It’s the first hat-trick of my life and I don’t think I’ll be able to get another one.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge