Ashley Cole may have been dropped for long stretches of time this season, but when called upon to deliver a veteran's performance, the Chelsea stalwart did not disappoint.
As a big fan of Cole, it was naturally disappointing when he was dropped by Jose Mourinho earlier this season in favour of Cesar Azpilicueta, a right back by trade. Azpilicueta's diligent performances, however, have ensured that Cole stayed out of the starting team - until providence played a part in Branislav Ivanovic's suspension for the game against Atletico.
Cole was one of the standout performers in Chelsea's winning run to Champions League glory in 2012, making several blocks, tackles and last gasp goal line clearances to ensure his side stayed in reckoning.
He fought and battled, and it is deserving that he had another opportunity to show Chelsea what they still have. Mourinho may not have missed his services, but throw him back in the thick of the battle and Ashley Cole will not let you down.
He may not have been the sole outstanding defender last night as the entire team did a terrific job of defending, but Cole was effective.
His consistency is what has stood him out all his career, and with a few more chances before the end of the season, he will surely be on England's plane to Brazil.
If only Mourinho would start him more. With a contract set to expire in a few months, Chelsea need to look at a possible renewal. But will Cole like to renew and sit on the bench?
Not likely, but whatever happens he has shown he is dedicated to the Chelsea cause. Chelsea must do same.
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