By George Overhill

28th Mar, 2023 | 6:40pm

Alfredo Morelos blamed for 'bizarre' episode that cost Rangers millions by Colombian legend

Alfredo Morelos has been blamed for his role in the “bizarre” episode that saw him come back from Colombia injured last season and miss the end of the Rangers campaign, The Scottish Sun reports.

The striker was twice called up to international duty by then manager Reinaldo Rueda between January and March 2022 but didn’t play a single minute, coming back early from the second trip with a thigh injury that ultimately required surgery which ended his season, and the club’s chances of selling him for a decent fee in the summer.

Now his compatriot, goalkeeping legend Faryd Mondragon, has claimed that the Gers forward was ordered not to travel the second time due to his injury but did so anyway.

He told Planeta Futebol, as per the Scottish Sun: “I know for a fact that a player travelled for international duty with us last year when he was expressly told not to come because he was injured.

“That player was Alfredo Morelos. The former fitness coach of the national team, Carlos Velasco, told me he joined up without permission. I asked him why Morelos got on the plane without permission and he said he didn’t know.”

The 26-year-old ultimately missed the last three rounds of the Europa League plus the last two in the Scottish Cup, and expected summer transfer offers never materialised – he is currently in line to leave Ibrox on a free transfer at the end of this season.

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The whole saga appears to be have been totally needless and nobody came out of the situation having benefited, as Colombia failed to qualify for the World Cup anyway and Rueda was soon fired.

Why Morelos was called up to the squad again if he was injured and didn’t have permission to go makes little sense, not least when he had flown close to 15,000 miles just a few weeks earlier, missing the disastrous 4-0 Old Firm defeat at Parkhead on 2 February, only to not even make the bench for his country.

Prior to the surgery he had been in good form for Giovanni van Bronckhorst, and even if that didn’t mean he was set for an extended stay at Ibrox it would surely have generated significant transfer interest as the club made it to Seville.

Instead, no concrete offers were received and 12-months on he is back in Colombia wearing an Everton shirt and apparently putting pressure on Michael Beale over his future, with very little time left on his contract before he walks away for nothing.

Even a few million for a striker with his prime years ahead of him and coming off a good season in front of goal would not have been presumptuous last summer, and would make a lot of difference to Beale’s attempts to overhaul the squad at the end of the campaign.

Morelos has been part of his fair share of controversies in his time at Rangers, and more often than not he bears a large part of the responsibility, but it seems harsh to blame him for this baffling situation.

He was clearly drawn to the opportunity to play for his country again, as plenty of players would be, and having that chance dangled in front of him twice he dropped everything in Scotland to travel.

But he wasn’t given another cap and the fallout is still being felt at Ibrox now.

In other Rangers news, a furious Sky Sports pundit has hit out at the treatment of a “most trusted” Gers ace over bias against the club.