Every Ballon d'Or since 2008 has been won by either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi and the pair are both among the favourites again this year.
Then came Bale, who scored twice in the Champions League final - along with Real Madrid teammate and fellow scorer, Karim Benzema.
But the Atletico Madrid man is clearly hoping that he or his countrymen get recognised later in the year, adding, "I think the Ballon d'Or has more prestige, a richer history".
Mbappe scored 21 goals for Paris Saint-Germain last season before starring in France's triumphant Russian Federation 2018 campaign, netting three times on their way to the final and then again in the 4-2 win over Croatia that sealed their second World Cup triumph.
Antoine Griezmann, a World Cup victor with France and Europa League champion at Atletico Madrid, is nominated alongside global teammates, Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, Manchester United's Paul Pogba and PSG's Kylian Mbappe.
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 Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have been shortlisted for the 2018 Ballon d'Or.
The victor will be announced in Paris on 3 December with a women's victor awarded for the first time.
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.
The Ballon d'Or has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, with former England global Sir Stanley Matthews the first victor.