Will Rangers Player of the Year Alfredo Morelos' poor disciplinary record stop him from earning a place in Colombia's Copa America squad?
Rangers striker Alfredo "El Buffalo" Morelos will be eager to make it to Colombia's 23-man squad for the upcoming Copa America, starting in June. But there is one massive problem standing in his way - it's his diabolical disciplinary record.
Last night, Morelos picked up a hat-trick of prizes at Rangers end-of-season awards by being named the Top Goalscorer, Players' Player of the Year and the Player of the Year, thereby showing that he is very popular among the Rangers fans and players. So far this season he has scored 15 more goals than any other Rangers player, with the Colombian finding the net 29 times in 45 matches in all competitions.
Morelos was very thankful towards his fellow team-mates as he told Rangers TV shortly after winning the awards, "It's something incredible for me, my team-mates' support has been really important.
"I'm very thankful for their support both on and off the pitch so thanks to them, and to the whole technical team, for their support thank you so much.
"We know that we played as best we could this season and it's all thanks to them, honestly without my teammates support none of this would have been possible.
"I'm thankful to all of them now I'm going to go out and hug each and every one of them for everything, for all the support they've given me, for all the love and respect that I've gotten here in the club.
"I'm very happy with all of them; I'm very happy and very proud that they picked me."
Despite being prolific in front of goal, Morelos indeed has a very poor disciplinary record. In the 27 league matches he has played this season, Morelos has been sent off 4 times and booked 10 times. And in the Europa League in the present campaign, the 22-year-old has been sent off once and booked five times in just 13 matches. In total, in the 40 games he has played in the Scottish Premiership and the Europa League this term, he has been booked 15 times and sent off 5 times. He has received more red cards this season than what was shown during the recent World Cup in Russia, where there were four red cards brandished in 64 matches.
During the recent international break, Morelos was called up to the Colombian national squad and was given a chance to impress new manager Carlos Queiroz. He played 45 minutes in a 2-1 lost to South Korea and came on as a late substitute against Japan. His restricted game time meant that the manager didn't really get to have a look at him.
The only way Morelos can impress and make a statement to try and get into the Copa America squad is by having a good end to the season for the Gers. But that is not going to be easy though as he is currently suspended for elbowing Celtic captain Scott Brown in a fiery Glasgow derby last month.
Since the suspension, Morelos has missed two games, both of which Rangers won by 3-0 margins against Hearts and Motherwell respectively, with fellow striker Jermaine Defoe grabbing himself a goal.
Morelos will miss another two games and he will be eligible for the final three matches of the season when Rangers will play Hibernian, Celtic and Kilmarnock. Rangers manager Steven Gerrard may opt to keep with the team which are currently winning and performing well. If that's the case then Morelos will have little hope of making it to Colombia's final 23-man squad for the Copa America.