Fabio Coentrao's inclusion in the Real Madrid team to face Sporting Gijón in LaLiga on Saturday saw him handed his first start in no fewer than 164 days.
With crunch games coming up, boss Zinedine Zidane had been expected to ring the changes in Gijón, having left a number of regulars behind in Madrid.
Coentrao hadn't started for Real Madrid in five months
Nevertheless, the Frenchman's decision to field full-back Coentrao - who has been a highly peripheral figure this season - raised eyebrows.
The Portuguese cap had last begun a Real match back on 2 November 2016, in a 3-3 draw away to Legia Warsaw in the Champions League.
First game time since early January
And the Sporting clash, in which Coentrao played 57 minutes before being replaced by Marcelo, was his first start in the Spanish top flight this term.
His most recent previous appearance of any kind had come three months ago, as a second-half substitute in a 5-0 LaLiga victory over Granada on 7 January.
Isco winner earns Real three points at El Molinón
Álvaro Morata scored one and Isco hit two - including a late match-winning strike - as Real beat Sporting 3-2 to edge closer to a first league title in five years.
- Roque Mesa1007Passes
*Update 15 de abril de 2017