Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa has revealed that he thought Mesut Ozil was joking when he told team-mates he was leaving this summer.
The Germany midfielder left the Santiago Bernabeu on transfer deadline day in a £40 million move to Arsenal, fighting off reported interest in the 24-year-old from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain.
"I'm a little surprised about the transfer," Arbeloa told reporters on Tuesday. "It's a shame and a big loss in our locker room, personally and in footballing terms.
"He said goodbye on Sunday, but I thought he was joking. Ozil is different, there is no one else like him in the world. He makes such a difference."
Fellow Madrid star and Spain international Isco - whose arrival in the summer is considered one of the reasons for Ozil being cast out by the Liga giants - lamented the ex-Werder Bremen starlet's exit to the Emirates.
"Actually, I was surprised that Ozil left and moreso because he said last week that he was going to stay," the attacking midfielder said. "Ozil, we all know, has great quality and is a player can change the balance of a game."