Yesterday, France’s Montpellier shook off an 11-15 halftime deficit to defeat Poland’s Wisla Plock 29-27 in the first leg of a two leg aggregate qualification match. Playing the major role in that turn around was Montpellier newcomer, Diego Simonet who scored 7 goals and set up several others with his court awareness and quickness.
Diego Simonet is a familiar name for Pan American Handball followers as he is one of the 3 Simonet brothers (Sebastian and Pablo are the other two) that play for Argentina. Yesterday, courtesy of ehfTV, however, was the first time I had the opportunity to see him play a full match with a quality web stream. And based on just this one match observation, I’m actually contemplating as to whether already at age 23 he might just be the best player to ever come out of Argentina.
Probably too soon to tell, but based on his career progression so far it might not be too long before it becomes obvious. In 2007 he was a key member of Argentina’s surprising 4th Place finish at the Youth World Championships and Argentina followed that up 2 years later with a respectable 6th place finish at the Junior World Championships. His performances in those events surely played a role in his signing a contract with the Spain’s Torrevieja from 2009-2011, then with France’s Ivry from 2011-2013. And, then top side Montpellier, apparently liking what they saw the previous two years, signed him to a contract this season. He’s also been a key part of Argentina’s recent success in Senior events, leading the team in goals and assists at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships.
It remains to be seen what his future career holds, but certainly, the fans in Montpellier have welcomed his with open arms, already echoing the arena with chants of “Di–e–goooo, Di–e–goooo.” Sunday’s match will be in less friendly confines as Wisla Plock will seek to turn the tables and qualify for the Champions League with a 3 goal victory. This match will also be show on ehfTV with a start time of 1600 CET or 1000, US Eastern Time.
Highlights of his performance yesterday against Wisla Plock: Link
Full match video of Thursday’s 1st leg: Link
Live Video (Sunday’s 2nd leg): Link
Mundo Handball article: Link