Turns out Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn't the only inspiration for Ted Lasso's Zava

Zava Ted Lasso
(Image credit: Apple)

Ted Lasso season 3 has continued the success of Apple TV Plus' most successful show by introducing exciting new characters like soccer megastar, Zava.

Fans of Ted Lasso will have wondered who Zava is based on, with similarities to soccer legend Zlatan Ibrahimović being the obvious option. However, Maximilian Osinski, the actor who plays Zava, has revealed the inspiration for the role in an interview with GQ.

“When I got the breakdown for the role, they described him as a mix between Zlatan Ibrahimović and Eric Cantona, and not an antagonist but an agitator. I just dove into interviews, and I read Ibrahimovic’s book I Am Football, which was fantastic. Robert Lewandowski was another guy who I kind of pulled from. I quickly learned that how they present themselves to the press is not who they are in the locker room with their teammates or in their personal lives."

Osinski wanted to capture a sense of the real man behind the footballer and not just what global sports superstars show to the press.

"You get a sense that these guys know what the press wants, and the press uses them as much as they use the press. I never viewed them as bad guys or villains. One thing I noticed with these big personalities, especially with Zlatan, is they'll say something really cocky but then give a wink or a smile. You get a sense that they mean what they say in the moment, but they do have charm, too."

Zava - Ted Lasso's secret weapon

In Ted Lasso Season 3, Zava, the best soccer player on the planet, joins AFC Richmond to prove he is as good as everyone thinks. Initially touted for last place in the English Premier League, AFC Richmond shows fine form in the first three episodes of the series as they quickly climb to the summit of the table.

It remains to be seen if Ted Lasso will finish on a high with Jason Sudeikis' character lifting the trophy, but so far, the show has proven to be the most popular show on Apple TV Plus.

You can check out Ted Lasso and the other best shows on Apple TV Plus with a free trial that makes Apple's streaming service a no-brainer for fans of tv and movies alike. 

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.