Better than Ronaldo

Bad news for goalkeepers – there’s a shooting machine that makes CR7’s knuckleball look like a pea-roller. Gulp

Move aside Ronaldo, stand down Becks – there’s a new free-kick specialist in town. And this one can hit 86mph howitzers with sniper-like precision.

You might not see the EuroGoal 1500 wearing budgie smugglers and sunglasses on a giant billboard, but you will find it terrorising goalkeepers across Serie A.

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Italy’s top clubs – including Inter, AC Milan, Juventus and Napoli – have been using the ball-firing contraption to hone the skills of their shot stoppers.

Instead of relying on the skill and accuracy of a coach’s shooting, keepers face the unrelenting power and accuracy of the EuroGoal 1500.

Italy’s No.1, Gianluigi Buffon, says it’s better than any player he’s faced. “This machine has been a revolution for me,” he purred. “The fact that it can repeatedly shoot the ball at goal with speed and accuracy is a killer characteristic. A player could never do this.”

Its creator, Pierpaolo Lucchetta – who won volleyball bronze at the 1984 Olympics – took the idea from a device he was supplying to the world of volleyball.

“We were already manufacturing a volleyball machine and I thought, ‘This would be great for football’,” he tells FFT.

“It’s not just for goalkeepers. It can simulate crosses and long balls for outfield players to deal with.”

To acquire its services clubs will have to part with £5,950 – pricey, but far cheaper than shelling out €1bn for Ronnie.

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