LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 07: Maximilian Osinski attends the Apple original series 'Ted Lasso' Season 3 red carpet premiere event at Westwood Village Theater on March 07, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/WireImage)
Movies - TV
Ted Lasso Season 3's Zava Is Almost Certainly Based On An Actual Soccer Icon
Spoiler Warning!
This story contains spoilers for Season 3 of “Ted Lasso.”
In Season 3, Episode 2 of “Ted Lasso,” the former Juventus player Zava joins Richmond after getting his ego stroked and being promised to be the team's biggest superstar. Zava is a standout character, a memorable player with incredible skills and a personality to match, and is also inspired by one of the most controversial figures in association football: Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Swedish footballer who over the last four decades has played with AC Milan, Barcelona, Manchester United, and Paris Saint-Germain. Maximilian Osinski, who plays Zava, not only looks exactly like Zlatan, but he moves and plays like him, and in Episode 3, he recreates Zlatan's bicycle kick, shirtless celebrations, and over-the-top back tattoos.
Zava quickly becomes a sensation in the episode, even with AFC Richmond's biggest critics being unable to deny their admiration for the superstar striker — it's impossible not to respect his skills. “Ted Lasso” does a good job recreating football culture in England, but with Zava, the show captures the specific personalities of the sport.