Argentina did not book their spot in next year's World Cup until their final qualifier, a 3-1 win at Ecuador on October 10, when captain Messi scored a hat trick.
Not much was left intact of Lionel Messi's statue.
Local police are investigating the incident and are on the lookout for the perpetrators.
Situated along the Paseo de la Gloria ("walkway of glory") in Buenos Aires among tributes to other sports heroes from the country, including Manu Ginobili and Gabriela Sabatini, Messi's statue was found severed at the ankles, with most of the figure lying next to its pedestal.
Argentina and five-time Ballon d'Or victor Messi have lost three straight finals at major competitions in a three-year span, with the first coming at the 2014 World Cup against Germany.
It has attracted vandals and thieves before, such as in January of this year, when the Messi statue was cut in half at the waist.
It is unclear whether this statue will be repaired or replaced.
However, resorting to vandalising the statue of a footballer who has taken his country to three major finals in the last three years is way over the top and nothing more than a publicity stunt.