Poor, poor Dario Benedetto.
The Argentina striker’s place at the World Cup 2018 is hanging by a thread.
A thread of his anterior cruciate ligament that is.
After keeping some of the world’s most lethal strikers out of the Argentina side during qualification, Benedetto has been ruled out of the finals.
The 27-year-old ruptured his knee ligament in Boca Juniors’ home defeat to Racing on Sunday, keeping him on the sidelines for eight months.
It’s really sad news for Benedetto.
Benedetto was drafted into to the national team for the last four games of qualifying and his selection certainly raised a few eyebrows.
Argentina have got probably the best talent pool of strikers to select from in the world and yet a latecomer from Boca Juniors was starting.
Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi, Lionel Messi, shall I continue?
Of course Messi gets into the team but Benedetto has kept all the others on the bench since his debut against Venezuala.
Despite only making five appearances for Argentina it is clear Benedetto was a central part of Jorge Sampaoli’s summer plans.
Aguero and Higuain are certainties to be on the plane to Russia but this injury news has blown the door wide open for Icardi, Dybala, Benedetto’s teammate Cristian Pavon and Joaquin Correa.
Step up Mauro Icardi.
The Inter man scored twice against Atalanta on Sunday and looks like he is fulfilling the potential everyone knows he has.
On current form an attacking trident of Messi, Icardi and Dybala would send shivers down the spines of Gary Cahill et al.
After Argentina reached the final at the World Cup 2014, losing 1-0 to Germany, Sampaoli will be looking to go one better this year.
Argentina struggled in qualifying with only a Messi hat trick in the final game securing their place at the greatest show on earth.
Now confirmed, Argentina’s armoury of blue chip strikers will frighten any top defence at the tournament.
Is it time for Messi to finally take his crown?