The former Tottenham midfielder's hopes of breaking the 10-year Messi/Ronaldo duopoly are based on two pillars: one, Messi has not made the shortlist for the first time since 2007; and two, Modric was the player of the tournament at this summer's World Cup and won Uefa's player of the year last month.
Ronaldo, however, has been nominated for another player of the year prize, with Liverpool and Egypt hero Mohamed Salah completing the line-up.
Compered by British actor Idris Elba and featuring a performance by Noel Gallagher, the awards are in their third year in this guise having previously been a joint venture with France Football's Ballon d'Or between 2010 and 2016, and before that the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
For those confused as to why Fifa is no longer involved with the Ballon d'Or, we've got you covered...
The Fifa World Player of the Year award was merged in a partnership with France Football's Ballon d'Or in 2010 and became known as the Fifa Ballon d'Or for the next six years.
Fifa agreed to pay £13million to merge the two awards, with Messi and Ronaldo the big winners as the then La Liga stars dominated throughout the six-year deal.
Fifa decided not to renew the deal in 2016, meaning the Ballon d'Or lost its 'Fifa' tag and reverted back to being voted for by journalists as a separate award as Fifa's The Best awards were created.
The Best Fifa Men's Player award is voted for by a collection of journalists, national team coaches, national team captains and the general public - each with a 25 per cent weighting towards the overall vote.
The 2017-18 campaign was another standout season for Portugal forward Ronaldo. Finishing the top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals, Ronaldo helped drive Los Blancos on to a third successive European crown with victory over Liverpool in Kiev. It was the 33-year-old's fifth Champions League triumph in total. Portugal suffered a disappointing last-16 exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, after which he moved to Juventus in a 112 million euros (£99.2m) transfer.
Also part of the Real Madrid side to win the Champions League, Modric went on to guide Croatia to a first appearance in the World Cup final, defeating England along the way. Despite the disappointment of losing to France in Moscow, the energetic performances of the number 10 earned him the Golden Ball as the tournament's stand-out player. Modric also went on to receive the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.
Salah may have seen his hopes of Champions League glory with Liverpool dashed by an unfortunate shoulder injury from a tussle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, but the Egypt forward can look back on a superb 2017-18 season. His 32 Premier League goals set a new record, and he also found the net 11 times in the Champions League - including crucial strikes in both the quarter-final against Manchester City and semi-final showdown with Roma. While still struggling for full match fitness in Russia, Salah got himself on the World Cup scoresheet in Egypt's final group game against Saudi Arabia.