Chelsea pair Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante also feature on the 30-man list, which has been exclusively won by Ronaldo or Messi for the last 10 years.
The last English victor was Michael Owen in 2001, but Ronaldo and Messi have established a stunning stranglehold, winning five each.
De Bruyne was nominated for helping City win the Premier League and Belgium reach the World Cup semi-finals.
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.
Cristiano Ronaldo headlines the latest batch of players to be announced as nominees for the 2018 Ballon d'Or by France football.
Completing the final 15 nominees for France Football's prize are Real Madrid's Marcelo and Sergio Ramos, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.
Liverpool's Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been shortlisted for the 2018 Ballon d'Or.
Remember the criteria for the Ballon d'Or are: the players' performances during the calendar year, their talent and fair play, and their achievements throughout their career.
In another first, the best under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy. The victor of the prestigious Ballon d'Or organised by France Football magazine will be announced on December 3.
Bale's club-mate Luka Modric, who is yet to be named as a candidate, is among the early favourites after Real's European success against the Reds and leading Croatia to the World Cup final.