The Real Madrid duo Ronaldo and Bale are leading candidates for the prize, while Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne have also been selected.
The first 10 players on the shortlist have been announced by France Football , with the remaining candidates to be revealed later on Monday.
Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also up for the gong, along with Atletico Madrid pair Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin.
Juventus trio Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon are also on the current list of players being considered for the elite individual prize.
For the first time in five years, FIFA and France Football will not be working together, meaning that only a panel of journalists will be responsible for crowning the Ballon d’Or winner.
Previously, national team managers, captains and journalists voted.