The Juventus star could claim a record sixth FIFA men's player of the year award after Lionel Messi was omitted from the shortlist for the first time since 2006.
Ronaldo and Messi have both won the prize five times, but the Barcelona and Argentina forward was overlooked on this occasion, with Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah in contention.
Barcelona and Argentina forward Messi had featured in the top three for 11 straight years. He was runner-up in 2007 and 2008 before winning the title for the first of five years in 2009.
The shortlists were announced by football’s world governing body on Monday and the award ceremony is scheduled to take place on September 24 at Royal Festival Hall in London.
Messi’s subsequent wins came in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, while Ronaldo won the title in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
The award was first introduced as the FIFA World player of the year prize (1991-2009), before becoming the Ballon d’Or (2010-15) and subsequently part of FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards.
Ronaldo won a third successive Champions League title with Real Madrid in 2017-18, finishing as top scorer in the competition and had Modric as a team-mate. The Portuguese moved to Juventus in the summer after nine years in Madrid.
Modric helped Croatia to the World Cup final, won by France, while Salah’s goals propelled Liverpool to the Champions League final.
There is some consolation for Messi as his Russia 2018 goal versus Nigeria makes the list of 10 nominees for the Puskas Award for best goal.
Ronaldo also features, for his overhead kick for Real against new team Juventus.
Wales forward Gareth Bale’s acrobatic effort for Real in the Champions League final is another on the list.
Three more World Cup goals feature: Denis Cheryshev for Russia v Croatia, Benjamin Pavard, for France v Argentina and Ricardo Quaresma for Portugal v Iran.
Salah’s strike in last December’s Merseyside derby also makes the shortlist, with FIFA.com users voting for the winner.
Norway and Lyon’s Ada Hegenrberg, Dzsenifer Marozsan, of Germany and Lyon, and Marta, of Brazil and Orlando Pride, have been shortlisted for the women’s prize. Marta has won it on five occasions.
The men’s coach prize features former Real boss Zinedine Zidane, France’s World Cup-winning boss Didier Deschamps and beaten finalist Zlatko Dalic, of Croatia. Pep Guardiola of Manchester City was not shortlisted.
Holland’s Sarina Wigman, Lyon’s Reynald Pedros and Asako Takakura of Japan are in contention for the women’s coach prize.
The best goalkeeper prize is to be contested by Tottenham and France’s Hugo Lloris, Denmark and Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel and Belgium and Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, formerly of Chelsea.