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Every Real Life Footballer The Characters Are Based On


In Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso real life players inspired several characters on the show. Created by Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt, along with fellow co-creators Bill Lawrence and Joe Kelly, the series became an instant hit after the release of season 1. Ted Lasso became the streaming platform’s most beloved series and, as the show’s popularity continued to grow, Ted Lasso became everyone’s favorite coach. The series pulled its inspiration for its titular character from real life, as the show was in part inspired by real-world figures from the world of football like FC Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

Likewise, while Ted Lasso’s AFC Richmond may not be a real football team, the fictional team and its players are informed by a number of professional footballers and real football clubs. These real-world influences ground the show in reality, and there are several real-life footballers the characters are based on. Sudeikis and Hunt reportedly spent time playing FIFA video games, where each gamer’s team consists of real-life professional football players. The show’s creators clearly put a lot of effort into creating authentic characters and developing meaningful backstories for them, pulling real-life inspiration from actual professional footballers and coaches from around the world.


Sam Obisanya

Played by Toheeb Jimoh, Sam Obisanya is an up-and-coming footballer from Nigeria when he was first introduced to audiences. In season 1, Obisanya rises through the ranks of the team to become an important midfielder and winger for AFC Richmond. In Ted Lasso season 2, his star continued to rise, and he becomes the face of the controversial Dubai Air advertising campaign. When his character takes a stand against the airline after finding out they are responsible for a devastating oil spill in Nigeria, his character harkens back to the many players who have participated in this form of activism in real life, such as NFL and Olympic soccer teams taking a knee before games.

Dani Rojas

Dani Rojas with his arms out on Nelson Road in Ted Lasso

Cristo Fernández portrays the joyful and exuberant footballer Dani Rojas in Ted Lasso. Hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, Rojas is a player who believes that “Football Is Life.” Like his coach, Rojas’s enthusiasm and cheerful disposition are contagious. Rojas’s skill as a player also helps bring Ted Lasso’s AFC Richmond team to the next level. There are many real footballers who exhibit a similar level of raw talent and passion for the game, and Rojas has been compared to the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappé.

Most notably, Dani Rojas is compared to Javier “Chicharito” Hernández – who was born in Guadalajara and played in Mexico before moving to England to play in the Premier League. While Rojas likely shares the closest resemblance to Hernández, his character was originally supposed to be from Iceland. Given this, Rojas is undoubtedly a composite character comprised of several Ted Lasso real life players influences like his fellow teammates from the Apple TV+ series.

Roy Kent

Ted Lasso Roy Kent Brett Goldstein

In Ted Lasso, Brett Goldstein stars as Roy Kent, a seasoned player who retires from the team in season 1. Though originally hired as a writer on the series, Goldstein perfectly portrays the frank but loveable footballer who never minces his words. Many fans have pointed out the connections between Roy Kent and real-life footballer Roy Keane, who excelled as the real-life team captain of Manchester United from 1997 to 2005. As Keane is noted for his highly competitive style of play and brash demeanor in real life, he and Kent clearly share more than a name in common.

Others have pointed out the Ted Lasso real life players similarities between the trajectory of Roy Kent’s career in the Premier League to that footballer Gary Cahill. After leading Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League, Cahill later when to play with Crystal Palace – the real-life team AFC Richmond is partially based on. Like Kent, this move took place in the twilight of Cahill’s career.

Jamie Tartt

Jamie Tartt on the soccer field in Ted Lasso

When Ted Lasso introduced Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) in season 1, he was on loan to AFC Richmond from Manchester City. The fact that he’s a star player from Manchester has caused many fans to draw Ted Lasso real life players parallels between Jamie Tartt and David Beckham. Another ex-Manchester United player Tartt resembles is Cristiano Ronaldo. Often regarded as one of the greatest footballers of his time and one of the most famous, Tartt has been compared to Ronaldo for his tendency not to shy away from the limelight.

Of course, there are also many other influences that have gone into creating the flashy, camera-loving Jamie Tartt. Even down to the makeup and costume design, which was also informed by real players. When Tartt moved back to Manchester City at the end of season 1, his spiked, middle-peak was inspired by Christiano Ronaldo’s look in real life. And later, Tartt channeled real-life Manchester City midfielder, Jack Grealish, with his side-shaved, slicked-back hairdo.

Zava

Zava from Ted Lasso.

Zava made his debut in season 3, and like other characters in Ted Lasso real life players were the basis of this man. Played by Maximilian Osinski, Zava is the new star forward for AFC Richmond thanks to Rebecca reaching out to him, knowing he could make AFC Richmond almost unstoppable. This character is not only based on real people, but Osinski himself revealed who his character was based on. According to the actor, Zava is based on Eric Cantona, Robert Lewandowski, and Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Out of the three, it was Zlatan Ibrahimović that played the most in the role. Osinski said he read Ibrahimović’s book and watched documentaries with the footballer in them to prepare for playing the character (via Today). Ibrahimović played for AC Milan and the Sweden national team, starting his international career in 1999 and still playing to this day.

AFC Richmond Team & Other Players

Ted Lassso Season 2_AFC Team In Locker Room

Like its well-developed characters, even the AFC Richmond team itself is based on real teams from the Premier League. Teams like Crystal Palace, whose similar South London location and red and blue team colors closely align with the fictional AFC Richmond. There are lots of reasons to love Ted Lasso, but this attention to detail is one of the many things that help to elevate the series and bring the characters to life while celebrating the Ted Lasso real life players they are based on and highlighting the international world of football that helped to inspire the series.



This story originally appeared on Screenrant

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