Bale is joined on the list by his Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, while Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery are expect to contest the award that will be announced on January 13.
Franck Ribery, who was already been named European football’s best player by UEFA for 2012-13 after helping Bayern to an unprecedented treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB Pokal last season, is the favorite to win the award.
But Messi, who has been named as the world’s best player for the last four years, and Ronaldo, who picked up the award in 2008 and was runner-up in 2009, 2011 and 2012, will certainly garner votes.
Other nominees include Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva from French champions Paris Saint-Germain, while Ligue 1 title rivals Monaco have summer signee Radamel Falcao included in the 23.
From the Premier League, Manchester United striker Robin van Persie heads the list, along with Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez as well as Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Arsenal’s club-record signing Mesut Ozil.
FIFA Ballon d’Or shortlist:
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer, (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Robin Van Persie (Manchester United), Xavi (Barcelona).