Alfredo Morelos: Copa America misery not over yet for Rangers striker despite Colombia exit

Being regarded as Colombia’s fifth-choice striker certainly wasn’t what Alfredo Morelos had in mind at this summer’s Copa America.

Alfredo Morelos has played just nine minutes of football for Colombia at this summer's Copa America tournament in Brazil. (Photo by Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images)

But that has become the frustrating reality for the Rangers player over the past four weeks and he must wait another few days before what must have been a dispiriting experience is over.

Colombia will complete their Copa America campaign with a third place play-off match against Peru on Friday night (kick-off 1 am UK time on Saturday morning) after losing on penalties to Argentina in their semi-final on Tuesday.

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Morelos was not even named among the substitutes for the assignment against Lionel Messi & Co - the fourth time he had found himself left out of the matchday squad by coach Reinaldo Rueda since the tournament in Brazil began last month.

The 25-year-old has played just nine minutes of football in the competition so far, winning his 11th cap when he made a late substitute appearance in the 2-1 defeat against Peru in the group stage.

Morelos was an unused sub in Colombia’s opening game against Ecuador but has been unable to convince Rueda, who replaced Carlos Queiroz in the job earlier this year, that he merits greater involvement.

Instead, Morelos has had to watch as Miguel Borja of Atletico Junior, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Rafael Borre and the Atalanta duo of Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel have been rotated in various combinations by Rueda in his 4-4-2 formation.

It remains to be seen if Morelos will be handed an opportunity in the third place play-off, a fixture in which Rueda might want to run the rule over more of his options ahead of Colombia’s return to World Cup qualifying action in September.

From Rangers’ perspective, Morelos’ lack of prominence at the Copa America has done nothing to increase the valuation of one of their biggest assets amid ongoing interest in him from Porto.

Manager Steven Gerrard will simply be keen to get the player back into his squad later this month, presumably after he has a break, and try to ensure he is in the right frame of mind for Rangers’ Champions League qualifiers at the start of August.

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