Specialist magazine France Football, which has awarded the prize since 1956, announced the 30 nominees for the calendar year trophy, among whom a victor will be chosen by a group of respected football journalists from around the world.
Ronaldo is the defending champion, having won his fifth Ballon d'Or in 2017.
"The betting suggests Messi and Ronaldo's grip on the Ballon d'Or could be coming to an end this year as Luka Modric is odds-on to win the prize following his performances at the World Cup with Croatia and domestically for Real Madrid", said Coral's John Hill.
Liverpool's Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino and Uruguay's rugged defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid also got the nod.
However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September 2016.
For the first time, a Ballon d'Or for women players will be awarded this year, with the nominees to be announced later Monday.