Lookman joins Messi and Neymar in the pantheon of football greats

Ademola Lookman's exceptional performance in the Europa League final has earned him the prestigious perfect 10/10 rating from L'Equipe, following his stunning display.

The London-born Nigerian winger became only the sixth player to score a hat-trick in a European final, and the first since Jupp Heynckes for Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1975 UEFA Cup, netting all three goals in Atalanta's victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Dublin.

La Dea's triumph ended a 61-year trophy drought while shattering the German champions' dream of an unbeaten season in the Europa League final at a boisterous Aviva Stadium.

Lookman now joins a rare and exclusive group of players who have received this honour, becoming the first since Erling Haaland, who achieved a perfect score after scoring five goals against RB Leipzig in the Champions League last season.

Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen – UEFA Europa League Final – Aviva Stadium
Photo by Icon Sport

Haaland is one of only two players to have received more than one perfect score from L'Equipe, both of which came in the same season.

The other player in this elite category is Lionel Messi, who has been honoured twice by L'Equipe, both times during his illustrious career with Barcelona.

Messi's perfect 10/10 ratings came after his memorable performances against Leverkusen in 2010 and Arsenal in 2012.

Ademola Lookman receives glowing assessment from L'Equipe

Lookman's performance was nothing short of spectacular, showcasing his ability to rise to the occasion and deliver under pressure.

Leverkusen's Edmond Tapsoba was exposed by the pace of Lookman, who was hoisted into the air by his team-mates two years to the day since his final Premier League appearance for Leicester against Southampton.

This exceptional display did not go unnoticed, as L'Equipe provided a glowing assessment of his contributions.

“The Nigerian scored three magnificent goals. The first as a center forward, overtaking Palacios and putting the right foot area under the bar of Kovar's goal (12th). The second is a technical feat, a small bridge-rolling strike sequence, in the middle of several German players (26th). And the third is a masterpiece (75th).

Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen – UEFA Europa League Final – Aviva Stadium
Photo by Icon Sport

It's the perfect match. He scored three goals almost single-handedly in a European Cup final against a team that was the opposition's favorite. It ticks all the boxes of the 10.”

L'Equipe's all-time perfect 10s

Throughout the years, L'Equipe, the prestigious French sports newspaper, has bestowed its rare and coveted “perfect 10” rating to a select group of footballers who have delivered extraordinary performances on the grandest stages.

These matches showcase individual brilliance, technical mastery, and an indomitable will to win, earning the players a place in football history.

Here are the legendary athletes who have achieved this remarkable feat:

1. Franck Sauzee (France v Greece, 1988)

2. Bruno Martini (France v Greece, 1988)

3. Oleg Salenko (Russia v Cameroon, 1994)

4. Lars Windfeld (Aarhus v Nantes, 1997)

5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona v Arsenal, 2010)

6. Lionel Messi (Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen, 2012)

7. Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, 2013)

8. Carlos Eduardo (Nice v Guingamp, 2014)

9. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain v Dijon, 2018)

10. Dusan Tadic (Ajax v Real Madrid, 2019)

12. Lucas Moura (Tottenham v Ajax, 2019)

13. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich v Tottenham, 2019)

13. Kylian Mbappe (France v Khazakstan, 2021)

14. Alban Lafont (Nantes v Paris Saint-Germain, 2021)

15. Erling Haaland (Man City v Man United, 2022)

16. Dominik Livakovic (Croatia 1-1 Brazil (pens 4-2), 2022)

17. Erling Haaland (Man City v RB Leipzig, 2023)

18. Ademola Lookman (Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen, 2024)

Source: Daily Mail

Nigeria's World Cup hopes hinge on Lookman replicating Leverkusen heroics

Ahead of the Super Eagles' 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin, many Nigerian football fans would have their hopes pinned on Lookman after his heroics against the German champions.

Lookman's hat-trick in that game was a display of attacking skill, illustrating his capability to score from different positions even under intense pressure.

For Nigeria, replicating this level of play will be crucial if they hope to secure a spot in the World Cup.

Nigeria face a critical juncture in their World Cup qualifying campaign as they find themselves winless after two games, languishing third in Group C.

Ademola Lookman @ Icon Sport
Photo by Icon Sport

With just two points to their name, the Super Eagles trail both Rwanda and South Africa, who sit ahead with four and three points respectively.

The early stages of the qualifiers have been challenging for Nigeria, who have yet to secure a victory.

Draws in their opening matches have left them needing to quickly turn their fortunes around to avoid falling further behind in the race for qualification.

Currently, Rwanda lead the group with a strong start, accumulating four points from their opening fixtures.

South Africa follow closely with three points, while Nigeria's two draws have placed them in a precarious position.

Ademola Lookman @ Icon Sport
Photo by Icon Sport

With crucial matches ahead, Nigeria will need to regroup and refocus to revive their campaign.

Securing victories in upcoming fixtures will be essential to climbing the group standings and reasserting their bid for a spot in the World Cup.

Lookman’s ability to deliver such performances can be a game-changer. The Super Eagles have a rich history of talented players, but consistency and execution in critical matches have often been elusive.

Lookman’s recent heroics demonstrate that he has the potential to be the difference-maker, bringing creativity, speed, and finishing power to Nigeria’s attack.

Lookman’s experience and confidence gained from his stellar performance against Leverkusen will be invaluable.

If he can bring the same intensity and skill to the qualifiers, Nigeria's chances of progressing will significantly improve.

The team will look to him not just for goals, but also for inspiration and leadership on the pitch. Nigeria’s World Cup hopes hinge on Lookman replicating his Leverkusen heroics.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as Kickgh.com and Inkandkicks.com. Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
His passion for storytelling and commitment to accuracy have established him as a trusted authority in sports journalism in Ghana, captivating audiences with his engaging narratives and unparalleled expertise.
Godfred holds a degree in Integrated Development Studies (Social and Development Administration option) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.