Dries Mertens helped himself to an armful of personal achievements and also helped Napoli create history in a stunning 7-1 win against Bologna on Saturday.

The Belgian, 29, has hit the form of his life in recent weeks and enjoyed a fresh high at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara as the title hopefuls maintained their challenge in the most spectacular of fashions.

Marek Hamsik and Lorezno Insigne had the visitors two goals clear inside seven minutes, and it would not be until after the half-hour mark that the former PSV striker found the target. Before the interval he added another, and while Hamsik completed his treble with two second-half strikes, Mertens regained the spotlight by firing his hat-trick late on.

It is the third time he has completed such a feat this term, making him the first ever foreign player to achieve that landmark in a single season.

Moreover, his goals propelled him to the top of the Serie A scoring charts with 16. Remarkably, 13 of these have been tallied in his last eight appearances, during which time he has also chalked up four assists.

Bologna appear to be Mertens’ favourite opponents, as he also bagged a hat-trick last time he visited the Renato Dall’Ara – and judging by the club’s response on Twitter, he is not welcome back.

Next up is a home match against Genoa, during which he will be aiming to replicate his feat of scoring back-to-back hat-tricks, which he did earlier this term with three against Cagliari and then four versus Torino – a first in Serie A for 42 years.