Cesc Fabregas believes former club Arsenal have managed to prise away Real Madrid's second-best player with their dramatic deadline-day capture of Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal completed what is understood to be a club-record £43million swoop for Ozil on Monday evening as Arsene Wenger finally landed a big-name signing after what had become a frustrating summer on the transfer front.
Many of Ozil's former team-mates at Madrid have since expressed their surprise and disappointment that the Germany international was allowed to leave the Bernabeu, and Fabregas also admits he was taken aback by the news.
However, the Spain midfielder, who spent eight years at Arsenal before returning to Barcelona in 2011, also feels the Gunners have got themselves a top player.
He told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: "I was really surprised by Ozil's departure. He seemed to me the second-best player at Madrid, after Cristiano (Ronaldo).
"He'll be great for Arsenal."
Fabregas was also the subject of transfer interest from the Barclays Premier League this summer, with champions Manchester United hoping to bring him back to England.
United saw two bids for Fabregas rebuffed by Barca, who always insisted they had no intention of selling the 26-year-old, while the midfielder sought to end the speculation last month when he declared he wanted to remain at the Nou Camp.
Touching back on that subject, Fabregas insists he could not have been tempted away from Barca, even if he had been offered the chance to double his wages or the promise of regular first-team football.
Fabregas has struggled to tie down a starting spot at the Catalan giants, but he said: "The tougher the challenge the better I like it and Barcelona was the biggest and most difficult, and I want to finish in a happy manner and if I can retire at Barca, then so much the better.
"The only thing in my head is triumphing at Barcelona.
"When I arrived at Barcelona I already knew there were other places where I could earn more or where I could have more minutes, but coming to Barca was my dream.
"It was my dream since I was small. I wouldn't go, not even for double the money."