ALFREDO MORELOS’ strike in last week’s 1-1 Europa League draw with BSC Young Boys has seen him set a brand-new record for pre-Christmas goalscoring in UEFA competition.
In over 60 years of organised tournaments, no player has ever netted 14 goals prior to the traditional winter pause in continental matches – with Morelos smashing that stat this season.
It’s a proud accolade for Morelos, who said: “It is amazing to find out that I have broken this record, but of course it wouldn’t be possible without all of my teammates helping me.
“To score for Rangers is always really meaningful to me and I enjoy scoring for the fans every single time. I love playing in big European matches here and to be able to set this record is a proud moment.
“I always dreamed about scoring in in really competitive leagues and competitions when I was a kid.
“I know that I have to keep growing and doing things right in every match, which I know I will with the support of my teammates and coaches here at Rangers.”
His pride is shared by manager Steven Gerrard, who added: “Alfredo has been in fantastic form for us both in the league and especially in the Europa League.
“To be so close to taking the overall record for scoring in the Europa League from his countryman and idol Falcao is a real achievement and we congratulate him for all his efforts so far this season.”
Starting off back in July, he struck away to St Joseph’s of Gibraltar in the 4-0 victory before netting a hat-trick in the return leg a week later as Gers eased their way through the first qualifying round.
Next up for El Bufalo in Europe was an outstanding header on the end of a top-class James Tavernier cross in Denmark against Midtjylland in that memorable 4-2 victory, before he grabbed a double in the 3-1 win at Ibrox to seal the tie.
Then came, perhaps, his most valuable goal of all. After almost 180 tense, goalless minutes against Legia Warsaw, Morelos got his head to the end of a Jordan Jones cross to book Rangers’ place in the Europa League group stage once again, and spark incredible scenes of celebration all around Ibrox.
So that was eight goals in eight qualifying matches – and he just picked-up from where he left-off as Gers were drawn with FC Porto, BSC Young Boys and Feyenoord.
After a great performance but no goal on matchday one with the Dutch at Ibrox, he re-opened his Euro account in Bern with the first goal on a night where the Light Blues were beaten 2-1 by Young Boys.
The double-header with Porto followed, and it was there he truly came into his own. Controlling and then firing home an exceptional Borna Barisic cross in Portugal to earn his side a fantastic 1-1 draw, he then managed an outrageous finish a fortnight later at Ibrox, helping his team to a 2-0 win and pointing them towards the knockout stages.
If that was brilliant, goals 12 and 13 followed on the same night in Rotterdam on matchday five, with two sublime headers against Feyenoord on the end of Ryan Kent and Barisic crosses from the left in a 2-2 tie.
The pressure was on for the final matchnight at Ibrox against Young Boys, and once again, El Bufalo delivered to send his side through to the Last 32 with a 1-1 draw, and his 14th in Europe this season.
Indeed, the competition record is 17, which is held by his compatriot Radamel Falcao from the 2010/11 season where he helped Porto win the tournament, and that is the same as the Champions League record of 17, held by Cristiano Ronaldo from the 2013/14 season for Real Madrid.
The current season record for any UEFA competition is 19, and that is held by Action 21 Charleroi from the 2003/04 UEFA Futsal Cup.