He is joined by the holder and five-time victor Ronaldo, who is included after facing an allegation of rape by a woman he met in Las Vegas in 2009, which the Juventus striker denies.
Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, two key members of the France national team that sailed to their second-ever World Cup trophy are also likely to finish with high tallies, as are Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, members of Belgium's star-studded side that came third at Russian Federation 2018.More news: That latest warning from your Facebook friends is a hoax, officials say
Nominees for the honour are being released gradually throughout Monday, with Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool duo Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino the current Premier League contenders.
Also making the cut are Juve's Mario Mandzukic and Liverpool's Sadio Mane, while Barcelona are also represented by Croat defender Ivan Rakitic.
The Ballon d'Or is considered the most coveted personal accolade a player can achieve and this year's awards ceremony will take place in Paris on December 3.More news: Microsoft announces its take on game streaming: Project xCloud
France internationals Amandine Henry, Amel Majri and Wendie Renard are joined on the list by Germany's Dzsenifer Marozsan, England's Lucy Bronze, Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Japan defender Saki Kumagai. Kylian Mbappe, the Paris Saint-Germain striker who burst onto the global scene with his performances as France won the World Cup, is the favourite.
The 33-year-old won the FIFA The Best award earlier in the year, pipping Ronaldo and Salah to the trophy. The two Ballon d'Or Awards will be decided by an global jury of journalists, with AS editor Alfredo Relaño again casting Spain's vote this year.More news: Doctor Who Time & What Channel Today: BBC America in the US