Benedetto facing Argentina World Cup KO with cruciate injury
Argentina forward Dario Benedetto is set to miss the World Cup next year after suffering knee ligament damage.
Benedetto ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during Boca Juniors' 2-1 defeat at home to Racing on Sunday - a result that ended their 100 per cent start to the campaign.
The 27-year-old equalised from the penalty spot earlier in the contest to move on to nine goals from as many matches in Argentina's Primera Division this season, a run that prompted links with Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund.
Benedetto's form also earned him a starting spot in Argentina's final two World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Ecuador, with the likes of Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala consigned to the bench.
Jorge Sampaoli has also turned to Benedetto ahead of Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain of late but the Boca star's setback means the Argentina coach is now likely to have to look elsewhere among his ample attacking options for Russia 2018.
Argentina required a stunning hat-trick from Lionel Messi to see off Ecuador last month and end a troubled campaign by snatching a place in the finals.