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The Nerazzurri slipped down the Serie A standings after a recent run of seven games without a win and the former Italy international now believes a top-three finish is beyond them

Former Inter defender Marco Materazzi has revealed that his heart is bleeding for his old club, admitting that he cannot foresee Claudio Ranieri's men qualifying for next season's Champions League.

The Nerazzurri currently sit seventh in Serie A, after arresting a run of seven games without a victory by triumphing 2-0 at Chievo last Friday.

Materazzi took some encouragement out of Inter's performance in Verona with Tuesday night's vital Champions League last 16 second leg against Marseille in mind, but he does not believe that they have it in them to qualify for next year's tournament via the league.

"My heart bleeds," the former Italy international told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I cannot bear to see an Inter like this.

"I know that getting someone to come to Inter for the Europa League will be tough.

"But there are now too many teams in front of them, and too many points lost.

"If they get past Marseille, it would be easier to reach the final of the Champions League than finish third!"

Materazzi believes that Inter's current predicament is down to the expensive mistakes he feels sporting director Marco Branca has made in the transfer market in recent seasons.

"To think that [Ricky] Alvarez was the new Kaka, [Luc] Castaignos the new [Thierry] Henry and Jonathan the new Maicon was doing an injustice to them," he argued.

"[Inter president Massimo] Moratti has always spent money there, but he is not one that wants to do it all himself.

"I, for one, believe that all the compliments must go to Branca given he guessed everything.

"However, there might come a moment when one will have to say that one was wrong."

Inter trail 1-0 from their first-leg encounter with Marseille at the Stade Velodrome three weeks ago.

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