Robin van Persie became the eighth player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League proper in 2013/14 after his treble booked Manchester United's place in the quarter-finals last night, following an emphatic 3-0 victory against Olympiakos at Old Trafford.
After suffering a 2-0 defeat in Greece a fortnight ago, few gave David Moyes's side much hope of overturning the deficit, but the deadly Dutchman struck twice before half-time to get the Red Devils back in the contest.
Van Persie was brought down inside the box as he attempted to control a pinpoint Ryan Giggs pass, and dusted himself off to break the deadlock from 12-yards.
Then, moments before half-time the 30-year-old scored again, this time converting a Wayne Rooney cross from close-range, to give Manchester United the much-needed impetus as they went off at the break.
Soon after the restart and Van Persie completed his hat-trick with a well-taken free-kick on the edge of the box. Olympiakos goalkeeper Jiménez Gago stood motionless as the ball sailed into the back of the net, and Old Trafford erupted as hope turned to belief that Manchester United would progress to the next round.
Unfortunately for Van Persie, his fairytale evening was cut short after he left the pitch on a stretcher with what looked like a knee injury. Although, it was later suggested that the knock wasn't too serious, meaning the talisman could return to first-team action by the weekend.
When you consider the former Arsenal striker's impressive goalscoring record in recent years, it is perhaps surprising then to hear that Wednesday night represented Van Persie's first Champions League hat-trick.
He now joins a growing list of football icons to have hit a treble in Europe's elite club competition, and is the eighth player to do so in the tournament's latest edition.
Click through the tabs - above or below - to see the other seven Champions League hat-trick heroes in 2013/14, and leave a prediction in the comment box provided of who you think could join them before the final in May.
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