A goalscorer noted for his flair and workrate, he played for seven different top division clubs, most notably Atlético Madrid, Valencia – with whom he won his sole team trophy – and Málaga. Over the course of 11 La Liga seasons, he amassed totals of 235 games and 87 goals, adding 126/52 in Segunda División.
Off the field, Salva was known for his nationalistic and militarist viewpoints.
Salva was born in Zaragoza, Aragon. After making his professional debuts with Sevilla FC, he won the Pichichi Trophy in the 1999–2000 season, scoring 27 goals to lead La Liga's scoring charts for Racing de Santander. He then moved to Segunda División with Atlético Madrid (freshly relegated) and proceeded to lead the side with 21 successful strikes, although the Colchoneros did not return to the top level.
In the 2001 summer, Salva joined Valencia CF, netting five goals to help the side become league champion after a 31-year drought. He was rarely used in the following season, and was subsequently briefly part of the Bolton Wanderers squad that avoided Premier League relegation in 2003; he had another two loan stints from 2003 to 2005, with Málaga CF for which he netted 21 official goals, including a hat-trick in a 5–1 league home crushing of FC Barcelona on 3 December 2003, and Atlético Madrid, being subsequently released and signing with the former.
In late January 2007, Salva joined top flight strugglers Levante UD on loan from Málaga, now in the second division. On 4 February, he played his first league match for the club in an away win against Real Madrid, scoring the game's only goal; after the season's end, with the Valencians managing to retain their status, he returned to Málaga, and netted seven times to help to top division promotion.
As he spent most of 2008–09 hampered by recurrent injuries, Salva was still able to contribute, notably coming from the bench against neighbours UD Almería and helping turn the score from 0–2 to a 3–2 home win with two goals, on 8 February 2009. On 15 March, he added another brace against another neighbouring club, in a 2–2 home draw against former side Sevilla; when the season ended, he was released after his contract expired.
In the dying hours of the 2009 August transfer window, Salva signed a 1+1 contract with Albacete Balompié, aged 34. However, at the end of his first season, where he appeared almost exclusively as a backup, he was one of 14 players who were not given a contract extension, being released and retiring shortly after; subsequently he re-joined former team Málaga as a youth coach, alongside former teammate Francesc Arnau.
On 12 July 2013, Salva was appointed as the new manager of Málaga's reserves Atlético Malagueño, in Tercera División. He left two years later, as his contract was not renewed.
Salva played four matches with Spain, the first being a friendly against Poland on 26 January 2000, coming in for Ismael Urzaiz in the 70th minute of an eventual 3–0 win in Cartagena.
Off the pitch, Salva was notorious for his outspoken personality and his political beliefs, far to the right of most of his peers'. A nationalist who put his love for the "fatherland" over that for his own family, he displayed the nation's flag on his boots; when sent off for Málaga against CA Osasuna, whose fans include supporters of Basque independence, he shouted to them "¡Que viva España, hijos de puta!" (Long live Spain, sons of bitches!). Fans of Basque team Real Sociedad displayed a banner reading "Salva, muérete" (Salva, die) when he visited their Anoeta Stadium, and he also had a dislike for Barcelona defender Oleguer Presas, an outspoken left-winger and proponent of Catalan independence, saying that he had more respect for "dog crap" than for him.
Although his footballing idol was Real Madrid's Hugo Sánchez, Salva's other heroes included Francoist fighter pilot Joaquín García Morato, Luftwaffe aviator Hans-Ulrich Rudel and Antonio Tejero, leader of the failed "23-F" right-wing coup. A self-declared Christian, he considered himself apolitical.
Born to a family with a military background, Salva stated that he would be the first to serve in the Iraq War if conscripted by prime minister José María Aznar. He was a patron of his hometown's military helicopter school.
In February 2013, Salva learnt that he was being turned down for the assistant coach job at Celta de Vigo over his political views.As of 23 April 2016
La Liga: 2001–02
UEFA European Under-21 Championship: 1998
Pichichi Trophy: 1999–2000,
Pichichi Trophy (Segunda División): 2000–01