It is a measure of how far Ashley Cole's stock has fallen, that he has not played a single knockout game in the Champions League this season.
That was at least before last night, when he was surprisingly selected by Jose Mourinho for only the second time since January.
And Cole played a key role at left-back in helping the Blues restrict Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw, executing Mourinho's gameplan to perfection.
His performance was one as reliable as Chelsea could have hoped for, and posed questions as to just why the club have not used him more in recent months, regardless of how good Cesar Azpilicueta has been of late.
Cole completed 78 per cent of his passes, more than Azpilicueta (73 per cent) who was covering for the suspended Branislav Ivanovic at right-back.
The Englishman won three tackles, compared to Azpilicueta's one, although the Spaniard's two interceptions edged Cole's one.
Cole was the only defender to create a goalscoring chance against Atletico, and with the World Cup on the horizon, his return to the first team could not have been better timed.
Ivanovic is set to return himself for the second leg, leaving Jose Mourinho with an interesting decision as to who should play at left-back in the decider at Stamford Bridge.
Here's how Chelsea fans reacted on Twitter to his performance:
I love that Mikel and Cole can just turn up in big games without much recent game time. Can't underestimate their professionalism. #CFC— Chad (@ChelseaChadder) April 22, 2014
Ashley Cole and Mikel both had a nice game tonight, they where perfect! #CFC— #pink (@Joshogrin) April 22, 2014
Based on tonight, Cole is more than good enough for us. Would be a real shame if we lose him this summer. #CFC— The Chelsea Man (@TheChelseaMan_) April 22, 2014
Credit to Ashley Cole. Hadn't played a game in quite some time but still put in a top notch performance tonight. Proper professional. #CFC— Gazaslave (@Gazaslave) April 22, 2014
Ashley cole proved tonight why he has got to go to the World Cup! #CFC— edward turnbull (@ed_turnbull95) April 22, 2014