Harry Kane set a new record for the most Premier League goals in a year and will finish as Europe’s leading scorer for 2017 after the Tottenham Hotspur forward hit a hat-trick in his side’s 5-2 rout of Southampton on Tuesday.
Kane’s 22nd-minute header at Wembley was his 37th goal of the year, moving him past Alan Shearer’s previous Premier League record, which was set when he played for Blackburn Rovers in 1995.
But Kane was not happy to settle for that milestone and he scored twice more to claim his eighth treble of the year.
His second goal took him to 55 for club and country in 2017 – lifting him above Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to become Europe’s top-scorer over the last 12 months in the five major countries (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France).
Messi, who has 54 goals this year, cannot catch Kane as Barcelona do not play again until 2018.
Kane admitted he was keen to break Shearer’s record after he moved level with the former England star with a hat-trick in Tottenham’s win at Burnley on Saturday.
The 24-year-old reached his landmark 37th goal in 36 league appearances, while Shearer played 42 times when he set the old record with 36 goals.
Shearer was quick to congratulate Kane, tweeting: “You’ve had a magnificent 2017 @HKane. You deserve to hold the record of most @premierleague goals in a calendar year. Well done and keep up the good work.”
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) December 26, 2017
Other high-scoring Premier League stars over a calendar year include Robin van Persie, who notched 35 for Arsenal in 2011, and Thierry Henry, who struck 34 times for Arsenal in 2004.
Kane’s heroics were the highlight of a memorable Boxing Day for Tottenham as Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min also got on the scoresheet.
Southampton, without want-away defender Virgil van Dijk, had escaped early on with Kane and Eric Dier coming close before the opening goal.
Danny Rose was tripped on the edge of Southampton’s box and Christian Eriksen’s dangerous free-kick saw Kane head home from close-range for the historic moment.
Those celebrations threatened to be cut short within 60 seconds.
Sofiane Boufal’s shot was pushed away by Hugo Lloris but the Frenchman misjudged Rose’s cushioned header back.
The Tottenham goalkeeper was saved by the post as the ball stayed out and a comical own goal was narrowly averted.
Tottenham have not lost a league game in which they scored first since November 2016 and they doubled their lead in the 38th minute.
It was all too easy as a long spell of possession saw Alli free Son and his cross was diverted home by Kane.
Southampton’s Mario Lemina rattled the crossbar, but Alli ensured the contest was all over in the 49th minute, showing quick feet to curl home past Forster.
Then it was the turn of Son to get on the scoresheet, the South Korean collecting Alli’s perfectly-weighted pass to fire beyond Forster after another quick counter-attack.
Under-pressure Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is facing calls for his head and his team’s second-half goals were little consolation.
Boufal scored in the 64th minute, with Serge Aurier and then Lloris guilty as the Moroccan’s shot squirmed in.
Normal service was resumed three minutes later when Kane collected Alli’s pass to chip home for the best goal of the match.
Saints substitute Dusan Tadic had the final say with a goal in the 82nd minute, but nothing could take the spotlight away from Kane.