Brazilian football player Roberto Dinamite
Brazilian football player Roberto Dinamite. Image Credit: AFP

Rio de Janeiro: Former Brazil international Roberto Dinamite, the top scorer in the history of the Brazilian league, has died aged 68 of intestinal cancer, his former club Vasco da Gama confirmed on Sunday.

"It was with the deepest regret that Vasco da Gama learned that the greatest of all has left us this Sunday. Carlos Roberto de Oliveira, alias Dinamite, dedicated 29 of his 68 years to the club, as player and president. Rest in peace," the Rio de Janeiro club tweeted.

Born in Duque de Caxias, a poor suburb of Rio, Dinamite came through Vasco da Gama's youth squad, and went on to score 708 goals in 1,110 matches for the club between 1971 and 1979.

He still holds the record for goals scored in his national championship with 190, far ahead of former Fluminense player Fred's 158.

An insatiable goal scorer he earned his nickname aged 17, after finding the net for the first time for Vasco's senior team at the Maracana stadium.

The daily Jornal dos Sports headlined the next day: "the kid-dynamite exploded".

A great rival of Flamengo star Zico, Dinamite won the national title in 1974 and that of Rio five times between 1977 and 1992.

In the national team, he scored 20 goals in 38 matches, playing in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups.

Recruited by Barcelona in 1979, he failed to make the grade into Europe and returned to Vasco the following year.

After retiring, Dinamite made a career as president of Vasco, but also in politics, with five terms as a deputy for the state of Rio.

On December 29, he tweeted in tribute to Brazil great Pele, his "eternal idol", who died that day, also from cancer.