But for all his swearing and his one-time penchant for sleeping with prostitutes, the fiery Manchester United man is an amateur when it comes to really raising hell.
And even Rooney's counterpart at Manchester City, Mario Balotelli, is a mild-mannered kitten when his rap sheet is compared to that of football's true nutcases.
We've decided to run down the top 10 footballing bad boys to show just how far Rooney would have to fall before he got anywhere near to the bottom.
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10. Rene Higuita
With a nickname like 'El Loco' - Spanish for 'the nutter' - it comes as no surprise to see the former Colombia keeper entering our list.
By default, goalkeepers are an eccentric bunch, but Higuita took it to a new level with his flair on the pitch - and plenty of controversy off it.
Every self-respecting football bad boy worth his salt has spent some time behind bars and Higuita was incarcerated in 1993 after getting involved in a kidnapping: he acted as a go between for drug barons Carlos Molina and Pablo Escobar, securing the safe release of the former's daughter.
Higuita was paid $64,000 dollars for his part in the negotiations but, since profiting from a kidnapping is an offence in Colombia, he was jailed for seven months.
On his release - without charge - his football began to grab the headlines again and his penchant for going on long mazy dribbles out of his goal - and his infamous 'scorpion kick' -were much celebrated. However, he found trouble again in 2004 when he tested positive for cocaine while representing an Ecuadorian club.
All this, and we haven't even touched upon his crimes against modern hairstyling. But we'll leave that for another time.
9. Frank McAvennie
Another man to succumb to the perils of cocaine was former West Ham and Celtic striker McAvennie. A lethal striker in his heyday, he is now better known for scoring drugs than scoring goals during a career that was peppered with controversy.
The Scot, a road-cleaner in his teenage years, even admitted to snorting coke while he was still playing, at a time when he earned £5,000 a week - a huge amount in those days - and was a regular on the London nightclub scene.
Since retiring though, the problems really began. He has racked up two convictions for possessing the drug and had £100,000 seized by Customs - half of a stash found in a Land-Rover at Dover's docks - in 1996 after being accused of being involved in a major drug deal.
In 2000, he spent a month on remand in Durham prison before appearing in court charged with conspiracy to supply £110,000 worth of ecstasy tablets and amphetamines and in 2009 he was handed a fourth month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after headbutting a man in a brawl outside a bar on the Isle of Man. His arrest meant he had to skip a charity match - the reason for being on the island.
McAvennie has also fought bankruptcy and depression in his spectacular fall from grace, while earlier this year he said his long-suffering wife of 10 years must surely be "due a testimonial".
8. George Best
Stylish, handsome and ludicrously talented, the Northern Irish winger was without doubt one of the greatest players of all time: he was named European footballer of the Year in 1968 after helping Manchester United win the European Cup, and was dubbed the "fifth Beatle" for his glamorous lifestyle.
After that high point, however, his career started to slide as his battles with alcoholism blighted his life.
Sadly, his boozy antics often spilled over into violence - particularly towards women.
He punched his second wife Alex in the face on at least two occasions, is alleged to have done the same to at least one other girlfriend in the past, and in 1972 was charged with assault after an incident that left a Manchester nightclub waitress with a fractured nose - thoughhe was acquitted in court with the help of one of his drinking buddies, legendary barrister George Carman.
It wasn't just violence that Best got involved with: he once admitted stealing a wad of cash from a woman's handbag in a bar in the United States in order to fund a drinking session, and in 1984 he received a three-month prison sentence for drink driving, assaulting a police officer and skipping bail.
Best had a liver transplant in 2002 but continued to drink, and died of complications while awaiting a second transplant in 2005. He was 59.
7. Peter Storey
Pimp, counterfeiter and porn baron: what isn't there to love about former Arsenal ace Peter Storey?
The no-nonsense England midfielder enjoyed a glittering career and was a key member of the Gunners' Double-winning side in 1971.
He also enjoyed a reputation for being one of the game's toughest tacklers, known for sliding in two-footed on his opponents and sparking a running joke that he was "a Storey who belonged in the horror section".
But in 1979, two years after leaving Highbury, things began to unravel for him when he was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence for running a brothel in East London.
A year later he was locked up, getting three years for financing a counterfeiting ring in which gold coins were produced. He returned to jail in 1990 for attempting to import pornographic videos from Europe which were discovered in his spare tyre.
Along the way, the 'colourful' Storey had also enjoyed stints running the Jolly Farmers pub in Islington and a small farm in France, where he still lives with his third wife.
He published a spill-the-beans autobiography in September last year called "True Storey. A film is said to be in the pipeline as well, which if it gets off the ground is surely set to become an instant classic.
The Brazilian nicknamed 'the animal' was a devastating talent on the pitch, playing brilliantly for his national side and clubs including Fiorentina - but also sparking brawls among his team-mates, racially abusing linesmen and continually getting sent off.
Off the pitch, his antics generally revolved around smashing TV cameras, trying to prove himself the greatest party animal in sport, and playing the drums in a samba band at Carnival in Rio when he should have been playing for Fiorentina.
Yet for all the nights in dodgy clubs with ladies of questionable reputation, his most famous high jinx came at his son's first birthday party in 1999, when he hired an entire circus to entertain guests - then tried to ramp up the entertainment a notch by trying to get a chimpanzee called Pedrinho drunk on beer.
His lowest point came when he was involved in a car crash in 1995 which killed all three of his female passengers. He was convicted of drink driving and manslaughter and given a four-and-a-half year semi-open prison sentence (which would have allowed him out during the daytime to play football).
He has fought the charge ever since, however, and has only ever spent a few nights behind bar - and quite incredibly tried to join the police upon his retirement in 2008.
5. Diego Maradona
Sometimes, great talent brings with it humility and a statesmanlike ability to deal with all the pressures of fame and fortune. Think Pele, Rafael Nadal or Lionel Messi.
At other times, that adulation sends players spinning off the rails as it did with the Argentine superstar. Maradona was famous for his on-pitch cynicism (as England fans found to their cost during the 1986 World Cup), but off the pitch spiralled into a maelstrom of drug and alcohol abuse.
A 15 month ban for cocaine use while playing at Napoli in the early nineties was apparently just the tip of a narcotic abuse problem that stretched back to 1983 - and continued throughout the 1990s. He was sent home from the World Cup in 1994 after testing positive for ephedrine, and in 1998 received a lengthy (but suspended) prison sentence for firing an air rifle at journalists.
He rehabilitated his repuation somewhat with a lively spell as Argentina coach, somehow guiding them to the World Cup in 2010 after apparently having wrecked their chances with some bizarre selections. Yet even during that stint he still managed to hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, however, at one stage running over a TV cameraman then getting out of the car and abusing him roundly for putting his leg in the way of the motor.
4. Mickey Thomas
The Welsh star enjoyed a glittering on-pitch career, turning out for sides including Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton and Leeds as well as making 51 appearances for his country.
But he will always be remembered for his astonishing role in a counterfeiting operation that was printing money and allegedly laundering it through the trainees at Wrexham.
"The judge would have given me a fine if he hadn't been worried that I'd just print the money to pay it," he joked after being sent down for 18 months in 1993 for passing counterfeit notes that were allegedly laundered through Wrexham's trainees. After being sentenced he even flashed a £10 note at the assembled media and asked "if anyone had change for the phone".
It wasn't the player's only colourful appearance in the papers: in 1992 he hit the headlines after being stabbed in the bum with a screwdriver by his brother-in-law while having his way with his sister-in-law in a country lane.
Not that such scrapes ever slowed Thomas down: he even enjoyed his spell in prison, apart from an early stint sharing his cell with a man notorious for beheading cellmates, and was once pictured by the News of the World quaffing champagne while banged up under the headline "the picture that will enrage every law-abiding Briton".
And he still trades off his reputation to this day as he makes a decent living on the after dinner circuit, dropping such gags as, "Roy Keane was on £50 grand a week. Mind you, so was I until the police found my printing machine."
3. Joey Barton
The Newcastle midfielder has admitted openly that he has "anger issues" - though describing the 28-year-old's demons as mere anger is a bit like describing the First World War as "a bit of a dust-up".
From the early days of his career - when he managed to spark a mass brawl at a pre-season friendly - Barton and controversy have gone hand-in-hand. His rap sheet runs from stubbing a lit cigar into the eye of a young team-mate at the Manchester City Christmas party, breaking a pedestrian's leg by running them over in his car in the middle of Liverpool at two o'clock in the morning, dropping his shorts in front of the home fans at Goodison Park, hospitalising team-mate Ousmane Dabo during a training ground fight, and being convicted of assault (and sentenced for six months) for attacking a pair of teenagers outside McDonalds.
Barton has calmed down in the last year or so, however - apart from the odd misdemeanour such as almost ending Xabi Alonso's career with a mad tackle, flinging a racial insult at Gabriel Agbonlahor or punching Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen during a match. Even in his mellow years he is anything but a charmer.
2. Robin Friday
The former Reading and Cardiff midfielder was, quite simply, a deranged party animal, anti-authority loon and drug addict. He came from the toughest of backgrounds (including a spell in Borstal) before rising through the ranks of non-league football and shining for Reading, but was offloaded by the club for drug abuse and joined Cardiff.
His stint with the Bluebirds did not start well: he was caught travelling on a train without a ticket on his first day as Cardiff player, and had to be bailed out by his new manager.
Though he did well on the pitch he continued to hit the headlines for the wrong reasons off it, including (there's no nice way of saying this) pooing in Mark Lawrenson's kit bag. Memorably, he also tried to destroy a hotel snooker room in the early hours of the morning by flinging balls around the room while standing on the table dressed only in his underpants.
His woes continued after he left the game, and he served a spell in prison for impersonating a police officer in order to confiscate other people's drugs.
Tragically, Friday died aged 38 of a massive heart-attack allegedly after a heroin overdose. He was later immortalised on the cover of a hit single released by indie band Super Furry Animals called "The man don't give a f***".
1. Gavin Grant
All the above rap sheets pale into insignificance beside the crime of former Millwall player Gavin Grant.
The striker shot and killed Leon Labastide in Harlesden, North West London, back in 2004, a murder that was one of a spate of tit-for-tat shootings on the notorious Stonebridge Park Estate.
The court was told at the time that the incident took place in the wake of a burglary which saw three women terrorised and £20,000 of drug money taken. The incident is thought to have led to a string of 30 shootings in the area.
Grant was not a professional footballer at the time of the killing, signing for Gillingham in 2005 before joining Millwall a year later.
He went on to play for sides including Wycombe Wanderers and Bradford City before his crime caught up with him, and he is currently serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 25 years.
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