Can Mario Balotelli Power AC Milan to Champions League Success?

Matteo BonettiContributor IOctober 27, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 22:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan in action during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between AC Milan and Barcelona at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 22, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

After losing 3-2 to Parma over the weekend, Milan lie in the middle of barren anonymity. With another miracle like last year necessary to make another heroic comeback in the second half of the season, let's take a look at who gives them their best opportunity to shine outside the peninsula.

The Rossoneri currently sit 10th in Serie A, with their chances of going to the Champions League next season becoming slimmer by the match-day.

Balotelli was told by Galliani and Mino Raiola to shed his rebellious look
Balotelli was told by Galliani and Mino Raiola to shed his rebellious look/Getty Images

However, they still have a shot at making a formidable European run this season. While nobody expects Milan to go far if they pass the group stage, don't be surprised if Mario Balotelli becomes a catalyst and spearheads them towards an impressive finish in the competition.

Now that they're second in their respective group, destiny is in their hands. It remains to be seen how Massimiliano Allegri integrates the January arrivals, but for now it's worth focusing on Milan's biggest hope for success, the mercurial Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli gives Milan that unexpected touch of genius up front, a type of class that they desperately need as most of the squad has only moderate technique.

Taking a look at Balotelli outside the pitch, recent reports say that Adriano Galliani sat down with Balotelli and his agent Mino Raiola and made Super Mario shave off his hair and take off his earrings in a move to make his seem less rebellious.

Unfortunately, the new shaved look didn't translate on the pitch, as Balotelli was disappointing during the match against Parma. He was taken off for the much-maligned Alessandro Matri, who repaid Allegri's faith by scoring right away.

However, inconsistency is part of the growing pains that come with a player of Balotelli's caliber. Even though he has scored in nearly every game he has appeared in for Milan, there are still moments of sheer stupidity which cause him to be suspended or receive an unnecessary red card.

Mario Balotelli sports his new look against Parma
Mario Balotelli sports his new look against Parma/Getty Images

Those moments have hurt the team, but there's still hope that this new intervention by people close to the player will work, allowing him to fully mature and reach his tremendous potential both domestically and on the world stage.

While Balotelli himself can't guide Milan to Champions League glory, there's hope that the future will make Milanisti a bit more optimistic. Keisuke Honda and Adil Rami have been confirmed as signings in January, and they'll add plenty to a team that needs quality depth at nearly every position.