The last time Argentina went four consecutive competitive games without scoring a goal was in 1990, when they did not score in their World Cup opener against Cameroon after failing to score in the last four games of the 1989 Copa America.
Pressures for Messi to deliver for Barca have increased since fellow strike compatriot Neymar left for PSG in August for a world-record fee - a move that, is thought, Neymar completed after desiring to escape the "shadow" of the Argentine at Barcelona. And it may not happen next year.
The South American qualifiers are different from other continents such as Europe and Asia as there are only 10 countries involved. "As the match went on the difference between the teams was clear", he added.
Despite the 0-0 draw, one more round of qualifying fixtures remain, and Argentina will need to beat Ecuador in the thin air of Quito in the Andes if they are to have any hopes of boarding the plane to Russian Federation. They're a point off Peru and only two behind fourth-place Colombia.
That left the focus on the teams jostling behind the five-time champions for the three remaining automatic spots. While it could feasibly advance to the playoff against New Zealand with either a loss or a draw, it would only do so if both Argentina and Paraguay fail to win on Tuesday. And the reverse fixture had seen Argentina lose 2-0 to Ecuador at home.
In the Caribbean port city of Barranquilla, Radamel Falcao's deft chip over Paraguay goalkeeper Antony Silva put Colombia ahead in the 78th minute before Oscar Cardozo and Antonio Sanabria netted twice in three minutes to hand the visitors an unlikely victory.
Peru's goalless draw with Argentina means if they beat Colombia at home on the final day of qualification, they will soon be heading to their first World Cup since 1982.
"The team is already thinking about what's coming in the match against Ecuador", he said.
In the second half Messi nearly opened the scoring, hitting the post with a deflected effort soon after the restart.
Despite their perilous position, Sampaoli is convinced Argentina will be in Russian Federation next summer.