Stefano Salvatori was one of the finest footballers Heart of Midlothian Football Club has ever seen. Representing some of Italy’s biggest clubs, he signed for the Jambos in 1996.

With just one league goal in maroon, coming against one of his manager Jim Jefferies’ former clubs Dunfermline Athletic, he’s more remembered for his defensive displays than attacking prowess.

Midfield maestro, Salvatori was a super scout

Part of a phenomenal midfield trio, Jefferies highlighted the Italian’s importance when speaking exclusively to NTOF: “Salvatori did a lot of the graft, breaking up the ball.

“When we’d finished up Stefano liked to do a wee bit of agency work. When I went to Kilmarnock, he brought me a player. He used to come down with a couple of Italian players and let me have a look at them. Manuel Pascali, that played for Kilmarnock, was through him.

Killie stalwart Manuel Pascali waves goodbye for last time to Kilmarnock fans in May 2015, a superb Salvatori signing. (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

“I got a couple of players at Dunfermline from him so we used to keep in touch. He used to come over, and of course his partner is from Edinburgh, and they moved over to Australia. But it was really sad to see him pass away because he was a terrific guy and a great player.”

In Hearts’ first Scottish Cup final appearance since Salvatori’s unfortunate passing aged just 49, there can be no greater tribute than to win the trophy for him. At Parma, Milan and Fiorentina, he won’t be as well received as he was at Hearts.

This current crop must give their all to win, as he did in 1998. A club legend for ending the 42 year drought, his legacy lives on in Gorgie.

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