By the end of the campaign, Hilario had played 18 games and fulfilled all that was expected of a number three choice, thrust so unexpectedly into the spotlight.
A model professional, the keeper kept his focus when familiar coaching staff moved on in September 2007 and when Cech and Cudicini were both out over Christmas 2007, he was back in the limelight, playing in five wins, including a Carling Cup semi-final.
There was one more call before the season was out, when Cudicini limped out at home to Fenerbahçe in the Champions League. With the score tied on aggregate, Hilario executed a fantastic save and Chelsea went on to add a second.
Cudicini's exit made Hilario a regular on the subs' bench and though Ross Turnbull's signing in the summer of 2009 brought more competition between the goalkeeping staff, it was the Portuguese more regularly chosen to deputise in Cech's absence, although the two shared duties on the bench.
Already 2-1 down, Hilario was untested against Inter in the San Siro having replaced an injured Cech in February 2010, but Manchester City would work him harder three days later, and he was criticised for failing to deal with a tame Carlos Tevez effort, before Craig Bellamy squeezed one in across him from a tight angle.
Injury then struck Hilario before the second leg against Inter so Turnbull stepped in. The veteran's only appearance in the next 18 months would be the Community Shield defeat to Manchester United at Wembley in August 2010.
Further injury to Cech in the pre-season of 2011 however meant Hilario would play against West Brom and Norwich in the Premier League, and although a mix-up against the Canaries cost a goal, both games were won.
The remainder of the campaign has seen him largely as third choice behind Turnbull but he signed a one-year extension in March that keeps him in west London until the end of 2012/13.
The Portuguese arrived as third choice keeper when youth team product Lenny Pidgeley moved on in the summer of 2006.
Hilario, 30-years-old at the time, agreed to join the Portuguese contingent at Stamford Bridge as a support player, having come to the end of a contract at Nacional, a top flight club in his homeland.
Previously, the former Under 21 international had two spells at Porto where he was a part of domestic league and cup wins. The second spell was under Jose Mourinho before leaving for Nacional to gain more first team games.
Hilario was 34 when he received his first international call in November 2009, and played 45 minutes of their next game, a 2-0 friendly win over China, in March 2010. It remains his only international cap.