Suarez's absence hurts Uruguay - Lodeiro

The Barcelona attacker is unavailable due to suspension and the Boca Juniors midfielder believes the Copa America holders could struggle without their star man

Nicolas Lodeiro has acknowledged Uruguay will thoroughly miss Barcelona star Luis Suarez at the 2015 Copa America.

Uruguay will head to Chile in June as reigning Copa champions but will have to defend their title without Suarez, who remains unavailable for competitive international fixtures following his bite on Giorgio Chiellini at last year's World Cup.

Suarez is banned from Uruguay's next nine competitive matches, of which he can serve a maximum of six at the tournament in Chile.

The Barcelona forward has scored 21 goals in all competitions for the Catalan club this season and was Uruguay's top-scorer with four in their 2011 Copa triumph.

Lodeiro feels his former Ajax team-mate's absence will leave a massive hole in Oscar Tabarez's squad, but is hopeful they will find a way to cope with their star man's absence.

"The truth is we lose a lot without Luis. He is very important both on and off the pitch; he is a leader, he is loved by everyone," Lodeiro told the Copa America's website on Thursday.

"On the pitch everyone can see what does but when we are not playing he brings a lot to the group. He is super-important but we have players who can come in and do a good job.

"We just have to think that he isn't going to be there and try to find a way of doing things well without him."

Suarez is Uruguay's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals in 82 caps.