Uruguay must look to minimize the impact of Luis Suarez’s absence at the Copa America, according to former striker Diego Forlan.
The Barcelona star will miss the South American showpiece, which gets under way in Chile next month, due to a ban following his bite on Giorgio Chiellini at last year’s World Cup.
Suarez, Uruguay’s record goalscorer, has been in scintillating form at Camp Nou this season but Forlan says Oscar Tabarez’s men can cover his absence and defend their Copa title.
“Luis Suarez is one of the best players in the national team, and in the world in fact,” Forlan told the Copa America’s official website.
“It would have been very important to have a player like him, even more so given the way he has been playing.
“But Uruguay needs to have other good players and learn how to function without him.
“The collective effort needs to continue in the same way and, when Luis returns for the World Cup qualifiers, he will be an important reinforcement.”
Formerly of Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, Forlan now plies his trade for Cerezo Osaka having retired from international duty in March.
Forlan won the Copa in 2011 alongside Suarez and backed the next generation of talent to taste success again.
“Time moves on for everyone. I had the opportunity to play for many years, to win the last Copa America and add another title,” he added.
“I experienced many things with the national team but now it’s time to let a new generation come through.
“I just thought it was the right time to make the decision.
“I knew the Copa was not far away and that I had the chance to play, but I didn’t think that was the best thing.
“New players are coming through, good players, and they have to have their chance. It was necessary to start that process now.”
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