He was born on September 11, 1962 in Bilbao (Spain). His brother, Patxi Salinas, was also a footballer. He began playing in the quarry of Athletic Club of this city, whose first team arrived in 1982 and in which he remained four seasons, although in the first two he also played in the subsidiary. With Athletic Bilbao he played 69 games and scored 13 goals, got two league titles (1983 and 1984) and a Copa del Rey (1984). In 1986 he signed a contract with Atlético de Madrid, where he remained for two seasons and then moved to Barcelona. With this last team he played six seasons and lived the best moments of his sporting career: he won four consecutive League titles (1991-1994), a Copa del Rey (1990), a European Cup (1992), a Recopa (1989) and a European Super Cup (1993).
In the 1993-1994 season he signed for Deportivo de La Coruña, adding a Copa del Rey (1995) to his palmares. In 1995 he moved to Sporting de Gijón and, starting the 1996-1997 season, he went to Japan after being signed by the Yokohama Marinos. He played nearly 400 games in the Spanish League and has exceeded 130 goals in this competition. With the Spanish team he was more than 50 times international.