Javi Mata devoted much of his radio show today to an interview with Jaume Costa, who will be leaving Villarreal this summer. It’s been known for quite a while that this was likely; Jaume signed a four-year deal in summer 2017 and there were no plans to extend it.
Jaume joined Villarreal in August 2010 from Valencia, and went to play for our B team. In 2011-12 he played for the second team again, but was promoted to the struggling first team in March—his first action came in that last-minute loss to Real Zaragoza; he started and played the entire match, and was a regular starter after that. Even after we were regulated, he went back and played a few matches for the B team.
In 2012-13, he was our regular left back as we stormed back to the Primera, and remained our starter at LB for the next five years. Apart from 2015-16 (when he suffered an ankle injury and missed the last part of the season) he played ~2500 minutes in the league, another 500 or so in Europe and the Copa every year.
Jaume would be the first to admit, I am sure, that he was not the most talented footballer, but he was a tenacious player—good at blocking the ball, always willing to go in for a tackle, and when he got forward, he was quite good marauding down the wing and passing the ball or sometimes taking a shot himself.
However, Javi Calleja’s return as coach in early 2019 spelled the end of the Battler’s regular starts for Villarreal. He missed a few matches with a hamstring injury, but he was also on the bench a lot. He was loaned to Valencia for the 2019-20 season, and saw some Champions League action as well as 1400 league minutes.
He returned to Villarreal last summer—word was he really wanted to spend 10 seasons with the Submarine, and he did. But it was clear that at age 33, being the style of player that he is, this would be his last season with Villarreal, and with our abundance of left backs, he saw limited action as a central midfielder, left back, and right back.
Jaume started five EL matches for us (including the 2-1 win over Salzburg). He was notably emotional in the postmatch celebrations and medal presentation. He and Mario Gaspar are the only Villarreal players who went through the 2012 relegation, the 2013 promotion, and the 2021 Europa League win. From the lows to the highs, Jaume was there for all of them.
His statistics are 268 matches with the first team (in all competitions), 6 goals, 20 assists, 90 yellow cards, 4 second yellows, and 2 direct reds.
The stats don’t tell the whole story, though—he is by all accounts a fine person as well as footballer, has always been one of those players who showed his passion for the team and the community, and his teammates. A fine team player.
He’ll be out of contract on June 30, but whether he’ll try to sign for another club or retire, I don’t know. He’s a Valencia native so maybe he’ll try to hook up with another club in the area—Castellón and Alcoyano are in the third tier, and Elche (or Levante) might be interested I suppose.
Jaume will always be fondly remembered by Villarreal USA readers, and by Villarreal supporters. Battling Jaume Costa—a Villarreal legend.