Jadon Sancho described his first professional hat-trick as a “bittersweet moment” as the Borussia Dortmund star paid tribute to George Floyd.
England international Sancho scored a hat-trick in Dortmund’s 6-1 hammering of Paderborn on Sunday, becoming the youngest player to reach 30 Bundesliga goals.
In celebrating his first strike, the 20-year-old revealed a t-shirt bearing the words ‘justice for George Floyd’ in memory of the man who died in police custody in America on Monday.
Sancho, who was booked for removing his playing jersey, took to Twitter to describe his emotions, writing: “First professional hat trick. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change.
“We have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.”
Sancho was not the only player in the German top flight to make reference to George Floyd, with Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram taking a knee to mark his goal against Union Berlin.
His coach Marco Rose said the 22-year-old had “set an example against racism”. Dortmund boss Lucien Favre claimed he “didn’t see” Sancho’s t-shirt.
“After the game, I heard about him celebrating a goal like that. There was something on a t-shirt,” Favre said.
“What can I say? I don’t know why he did that. I didn’t see it. I can’t judge it.”
Sancho also became the first English player to register at least 15 goals and the same number of assists in a single season in one of Europe’s top five leagues since Matt Le Tissier, who achieved the feat for Southampton in the Premier League 25 years ago.
Such impressive numbers saw Sancho’s team-mate Axel Witsel predict the attacker will go on to become one of the greats of the game.
“I think he’s one of the best of his generation,” Witsel said. “He still has a lot to improve, to progress, because he is really young.
“But I’m sure in his position, as a winger, he will be one of the best.”
Dortmund are in second position on the Bundesliga table – seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich with five matches to play.