Ronaldo is the defending champion, having won his fifth Ballon d'Or in 2017.
We will keep you updated on the rest of the nominees as they are released which is expected to include an array of football icons such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar.
While Messi, who last won the prize in 2015, enjoyed another year of stellar goalscoring feats, Barcelona's early Champions League exit and Argentina's failure to make the last eight of the World Cup have likely ruled him out of contention.
For six years it combined with world football's governing body to become the Fifa Ballon d'Or.
De Bruyne was nominated for helping his club win the Premier League and his country reach the World Cup semi-finals.
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Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, DC, after a hearing on February 23, 2018. The Israeli company, Psy-Group, "is staffed by former Israeli intelligence operatives", The Times says.
For the first time, a Ballon d'Or for women players will be awarded this year, with the nominees to be announced later Monday.
Eden Hazard gives Chelsea another player in the running after starring alongside De Bruyne at the World Cup, with England's Golden Boot victor Harry Kane also included.
Liverpool's Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino and Uruguay's rugged defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid also got the nod.
PSG's Mbappe appears a dead certainty for the newly-introduced Kopa Trophy, which rewards the best players under 21, and is voted on by previous Ballon d'Or winners.
Teenage sensation Mbappe scored four goals in Paris Saint-Germain's 5-0 win over Olympique Lyon, taking his Ligue 1 tally for the campaign to eight strikes.