Real Madrid defender Álvaro Arbeloa has revealed he was shocked when he heard Mesut Özil had left the club to join Arsenal.
The German international moved to the Gunners on the evening of the final day of the transfer window for an estimated 50 million euros.
"I'm a bit surprised, it's a shame, and it's a big loss to the dressing room, on a footballing level and on a personal level too," said Arbeloa, speaking to journalists at the Spain national team's training ground.
"He said goodbye to us on Sunday, but I thought he was joking. He's very different from everyone else, there's no player like him in the world. He makes the difference on the pitch and can change a game by himself."
However, the former Liverpool defender did not blame Özil for choosing to leave Madrid.
"He has his own reasons for moving. But we will keep looking forward, we have other great players. I understand it's tough for the fans, they loved him. He is a phenomenon and got on well with everyone. It's a real loss."
Asked his thoughts about the signing of Gareth Bale, who was presented yesterday in front 30,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabéu, Arbeloa said:
"I'm happy that he's joined Madrid. This deal was talked about all summer and now he's here."
On whether Diego López or Iker Casillas should be the club's number one goalkeeper, he remarked: "There's no debate. We have three outstanding goalkeepers (López, Casillas and Jesús Fernández). Whatever the coach decides, we'll support him I'm tired of the same debate, there's nothing else to say about it."
And he said he was pleased his teammate Nacho had received his first call up to the Spain squad.
The defender got the nod after Iñigo Martínez had to pull out due to injury.
"I'm happy, I've already congratulated him," he said.
"He deserves it because of how hard he has worked. I hope he enjoys it, and I hope he's not the only young Madrid player to get called up."