As scary as it may be, there's a very real possibility Lionel Messi won't play at the 2018 World Cup.
Despite Argentina having reached the final of the last tournament in Brazil, Jorge Sampaoli's men have well and truly bottled their latest qualifying campaign. It's the next disappointment in a two-year spell that has seen two Copa America final defeats.
Argentina haven't scored a single goal from open play - barring an own goal - since November 2016 and have registered just one win.
Their woes continued last night in a game that could have easily rectified their torrid recent form, in front of home support against Peru.
However, it wasn't to be with the home side labouring to a 0-0 draw to drop out of the play-off slot behind the very team that had held them.
Even then, everyone vaguely associated with football in Argentina needed to pass their thanks to Paraguay who remarkably mitigated the situation with a late comeback against Colombia.
If it wasn't for the erratic goalkeeping of David Ospina, then Messi's absence from football's premier competition and likely his last shot at it, would have been all but over.
This is in spite of the fact Messi actually played rather well against Peru and was gravely let down by his teammates.
The Barcelona superstar was seen trying to force opportunities of his own in amongst remarkable diagonal passes and the expected bout of dribbling.
Ultimately, though, his finishing let him down and without the likes of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, was made to pay for his choice misses.
One particular moment from the game serves to exemplify his out of character shooting at La Bombonera.
With half-time looming, the ball sat up nicely for Messi on the edge of the Peru penalty area with the 30-year-old lining up a top corner blockbuster.
Cue the mother of all slices as Messi completely shanked his effort out to the left with so much spin that it ended in a Peru throw-in. Check out the embarrassing moment below:
Talk about summing up Argentina's night and perhaps timely proof that Messi is actually human.
Sampaoli sought to reassure after the game, explaining that he was: "confident that if we play with the conviction with which we did against Peru we will be in the World Cup."
Whatever you say Jorge...
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