Jon Moncayola, a rising star who is already a leader for CA Osasuna

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The midfielder, who has also filled in at right-back this season, has played the third-most minutes of the squad.

Jon Moncayola is only 24 years of age, but he has already impressed enough on the pitch to earn a 10-year deal tying him to his boyhood club CA Osasuna until 2031. Such a long-term deal is almost unheard of in modern football, but Moncayola isn’t a typical footballer. He is a CA Osasuna fan first and foremost, and it was a dream come true when he debuted for the first team on opening day in 2019/20: a 1-0 victory away at CD Leganés that proved the newly promoted team from Pamplona meant business. They finished 10th that season, 11th one year later and 10th again after that.

Moncayola, who has been at the club for over a decade already, explains: “I have been here since I was 10 years of age, which is a lot and I’ll be here for many more years too. Since I have been at CA Osasuna, I haven’t seen a project with as much backing as the current one and this was one of the main reasons why I decided to stay.”

Despite potential offers from clubs bigger than CA Osasuna, Moncayola is excited about the possibility of leading the Navarre club into a bright new future from his position as the anchor of coach Jagoba Arrasate’s midfield.

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Even though Moncayola is only 24 years of age, he is already a leader of the team and has played the third-most minutes in the squad this term, even filling in at right-back on occasion. Contributing in defence with his tireless engine and in attack with his visionary passing, he has been one of the first names on the team sheet for some time, fitting into top-division football seamlessly following his promotion from the reserve team in 2019. There, he was one of the top-rated academy graduates and several of his ‘B’ team teammates travelled to Leganés for the day of his debut, so happy were they about their teammate’s step up.

CA Osasuna’s Tajonar youth academy is one of the most prolific yet underrated in Spanish football. In recent years, the city of Pamplona has boasted the highest ratio of professional footballers relative to population, and the likes of César Azpilicueta, Javi Martínez, and Raúl García have all come through the ranks in recent years. CA Osasuna’s excellent scouting network identifies top talents and trains them in multiple different styles of football – both dominant and defensive –, and the plethora of Tajonar graduates at the very top of the game is proof of its effectiveness.

Moncayola embodies this philosophy and methodology perfectly, equally adept in helping CA Osasuna dig in deep and hold on for a point at stadiums like the Santiago Bernabéu, while also capable of leading an attacking game plan when the team faces sides they’re expected to beat.

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Such performances haven’t gone unnoticed outside the club, either. He played in each of Spain’s group matches at the U21 European Championships in 2021 and won an Olympic medal representing Spain at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

As both Moncayola and the team continue to grow, CA Osasuna is increasingly touted as favourites. After three solid mid-table finishes in a row, the next step has been reaching a Copa del Rey final and having the chance to return to European competition. CA Osasuna last competed in Europe in 2007 – the year before Moncayola joined the club as a nine-year-old. With a contract until 2031, he’s confident that Los Rojillos will be back in continental action under his watch.