The attacking trio came top in a poll of journalists from each of UEFA's member national associations and the overall winner will be announced in a live vote during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on August 29.
Last year's winner was Andres Iniesta while his Barcelona team-mate Messi lifted the inaugural award for the 2010/11 season.
Argentina star Messi, the four-time reigning FIFA Ballon d'Or winner, helped Barca win the Primera Division title last term with 46 league goals - earning him the European Golden Shoe award in the process.
France international Ribery, meanwhile, was a key part of the Bayern Munich side which became the first German club to win the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal last term.
Portugal ace Ronaldo netted 34 league goals for Real Madrid last season and finished as top-scorer in the Champions League with 12 goals.
The positions from fourth to 10th have already been fixed, with Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski fourth, and Bayern team-mates Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller fifth and sixth.
Tottenham's Gareth Bale is seventh, Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern is eighth while Paris St Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie occupy ninth and 10th positions, respectively.