After a couple of supposed failed attempts at getting a Brazilian striker, Rangers finally got one in Danilo. The 24-year-old striker joined last week from Feyenord in a reported £5.4m deal. Rangers had previously tried to secure deals for Ronaldo Nazario (R9) and Mario Jardel.
However it took until this summer for the club to get their first Brazilian striker through the door. It’s a deal that has excited many fans and I definitely can’t wait to see what he’ll offer this season.
It got me thinking though, how successful have other South American strikers been at the club? This article will look at former forwards from that region and how they fared in their Ibrox spell. Let’s start with Rangers first ever South American player, Sebastián Rozental.
Rozental arrived at Rangers in 1997 as promising 20-year-old Chilean international. The club had big hopes for him and splashed out £4m to bring the first ever South American player to Ibrox. This deal also made him the most expensive Chilean player in history (at that point in time).
He was rated so highly in his homeland that he was challenging the likes of Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano for a starting spot in the Chilean national team. However, he never met his early promise at Ibrox. In only his second appearance for the club he managed to score his first goal and also picked up a serious knee injury (seems familiar doesn’t it?). He would then only make three appearances throughout his whole first season and the same in his second.
It was only in his third season at the club (1999-2000) that he would get his first proper run of games, he scored 3 goals in 11 SPL appearances and helped the club to a league and cup double (he scored 2 twice in the cup semi-final but was left out of the squad for the final). In total he only made 21 appearances for Rangers and scored 6 goals.
A player who came with so much promise and never managed to fulfill it, Rangers had a lot of faith in him, hence the £4m fee, a transfer figure the club barely pays now! Rangers first venture into the South American market for strikers failed, but it didn’t put them off trying again.
Gabi Amato arrived at Rangers for another big fee (£4.2m) in 1998. The 28-year-old Argentinian striker was signed after an impressive season at Mallorca. He was exactly what you would expect of a South American striker, he oozed confidence and technical ability and played the game with natural flair. He had a box full of tricks, sometimes frustrating, but often a joy to watch.
Amato loved to run at defenders and try to beat as many as possible on long, mazy runs. He had a decent spell at Rangers but with the ability he had, fans expected more goals.
In 45 appearances for Rangers he scored 13 goals. As much as he was exciting to watch, with his ability on the ball and in the air more was expected in the goal department.
If you never managed to see Gabriel Amato for Rangers, treat yourself to his highlight reel. It will be a really enjoyable few minutes for you!
I’m sure many of you got to witness the Argentine’s genius at Ibrox. If you didn’t though, have a read up on his career.. Potentially one of the most interesting characters to play for the club!
We’re talking about a player who played for Argentina in two world cups, scoring 4 goals in 8 international appearances.
In 1993 he also received a 13 month ban for cocaine use after failing a surprise doping test. He played for some of the biggest clubs in the world like Boca Juniors, River Plate, Roma, Benfica and, obviously, Rangers.
In the 00/01 season he was part of that extraordinary Dundee transfer period led by Ivano Bonnetti. The former Argentina international quickly became the clubs star player, as expected, and got his move to Rangers after one season.
He definitely falls under the ‘cult hero’ category for his time at Ibrox. He was 34-years-old when he came to Rangers but still had so much ability and was quality with the ball at his feet. Caniggia could twist and turn any SPL defender inside out and was a calm and composed finisher. He scored in that famous win at Ibrox over Dunfermline to help win Rangers the title on the final day of the season. He also scored against Celtic in a league cup final triumph.
Thinking back, he was brilliant to watch and I was surprised he was only at the club for two seasons. In those two seasons, he played a total of 78 games and scored 21 goals before heading off to Qatar.
Honestly, he had an incredible career and it’s worth reading up on if you weren’t aware of it! He definitely counts as a success in terms of South American forwards at Rangers.
Going from a cult hero to a failure. Nieto joined Rangers on loan in 2005 having scored 33 goals in 58 appearances for Almagro in his homeland of Argentina. So there was an excitement around the 22-year-olds arrival. However, he just never got going for the club.
He looked awkward on the pitch and it was unclear what his strengths were supposed to be. As with all South Americans that arrive, there was an air of excitement with this deal.
However the striker massively flopped and only scored 3 goals throughout his loan spell. One was in the league against Dunfermline and then 2 in the cup against Clyde.
He is definitely one fans will have forgotten about but there was such disappointment surrounding this one at the time.
El Buffalo. What is there to say on the Colombian? He joined the club from Helsinki for around £1m and left as the clubs all time top European goal scorer.
He joined with fans knowing nothing about him and he was raw from the get go. A player of immense physical ability, the type the club hadn’t seen in years from a striker.
He never became a clinical finisher as fans may have expected but he scored some massive goals for the club, particularly in Europe.
Potentially one of the most controversial players at the club in recent years. Some fans love him unconditionally, some fans hate him unconditionally then there are plenty who fluctuate between both sides.
Between coming back late from international duty to coming back from preseason overweight to looking like he isn’t trying on the pitch. The cons, at times, outweighed the pros that came with the Colombian striker.
He’s someone Rangers should have sold for huge profit but, unfortunately, left as a free agent this summer. He’s the hero of many young Rangers fans and it’s clear to see why. When he was on it, he gave his all for the club. There was so much fight and determination in an on-form Alfredo Morelos.
It’s hard to look passed the controversy, but now that he’s gone let’s focus on the positives. He was crucial to Rangers in many European and domestic wins. As previously mentioned, he’s the clubs all-time record European goal scorer.
In total, he played 269 games and scored 124 goals for Rangers. To some, he’s a legend and to others, a wasted talent. How do you feel about Morelos now that he’s gone? How did you feel about him when he was at the club?
It’s fair to say Rangers record with South American strikers has been fairly hit and miss. Danilo, though, represents the first Brazilian striker to properly play for the club.
He’s comes with the reputation of being a hard working sharpshooter. At only 24-years-old he’s still developing his game but the signs are encouraging.
How excited are you about having another South American striker at the club? Are you confident Danilo will be a success?