The teenager is also on the 10-player shortlist for the inaugural Kopa Trophy, a new prize for the best player under 21, which is judged by stars including Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.
The Juventus forward, now facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 that he strenuously denies, has already won the Ballon d'Or five times and is the current holder of the award.
The Ballon d'Or is separate from FIFA's own world player of the year awards, which was won by Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric.
Having lost out in the Federation Internationale de Football Association best player of the year award to Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo takes his place among the 30 nominees for the Ballon d'Or that were being unveiled in stages throughout Monday.
The Croatian had a stellar year, leading his country to an unlikely World Cup final while also winning a third-consecutive Champions League title.
There were seven Frenchmen named on the list after helping Les Bleus win their second World Cup in Russian Federation this summer.
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero and PSG's Neymar are nominated as are two other prolific South American strikers: Uruguayans Edinson Cavani of PSG and Luis Suarez of Barcelona.
The victor will be announced in Paris on 3 December with a women's victor awarded for the first time.
Liverpool's Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino and Uruguay's rugged defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid also got the nod.
Sir Stanley Matthews won the first Ballon d'Or in 1956.