Rangers hero Alfredo Morelos has been left stunned after being axed for Colombia’s Copa America preliminary 40-man squad despite the South America nation including ten strikers.
The Ibrox hitman has 29 goals this season and looks certain to finish top scorer in the Premiership, although his campaign has been blighted by being sent off on five occasions.
He was called up for new Colombia manager Carlos Queiroz’s first squad in March, where he played the final three minutes for Colombia against Japan as a sub, before being hooked at half time after starting a 2-1 defeat in South Korea.
And he admitted this week his main ambition this season was to play in this summer’s prestigious Copa America tournament in Brazil.
But his dreams have been shattered by former Real Madrid and Portugal boss Queiroz.
The Portuguese coach was left so unimpressed with Morelos during the Asian tour - where he named Morelos as one of only four strikers - he’s not even included the Rangers striker in his 40-strong list of players in the preliminary squad.
The ten strikers he did include were: Yairo Moreno (Leon), Luis Diaz (Atletico Junior), Andres Ibarguen (Club America), Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Duvan Zapata (Atalanta), Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Rafael Borre (River Plate), Sebastian Villa (Boca Juniors), Yimmi Chara (Atletico Mineiro) and Roger Martinez (Club America).
He will whittle down that number to 23 names when he confirms his squad later this month.
The news was met with surprise by the Colombian media, who were amazed Morelos was axed entirely from the squad and speculated his indiscipline and subsequent loss of place in Steven Gerrard’s side had cost him his spot.
Earlier this week, Morelos had stressed: “My priority is always the Colombia national team.
“To be chosen to be in Carlos Queiroz’s squad for his first selection in Asia was memorable and a great honour.
“I have had a very good season with Rangers and God willing, I will be in the squad for the Copa America.
“That would bring me enormous happiness.
“I know there will be an initial list of 40 players and my hope is to get on that first and then make the final squad.”