Balotelli left City on Thursday in a £19m deal with Serie A club AC Milan after two-and-a-half eventful years with Roberto Mancini's side.
Zabaleta, who captained City against Liverpool on Sunday, said the striker is already missed.
"Life is a bit different, Mario is a great lad and we're missing him the last three days," he said.
"The dressing room is not the same, with him there's always something to laugh at."
The Argentine praised his former team-mate, as he added: "We wish him all the best at AC Milan, we know how good Mario is as a player he just needs to be more focused and he can become one of the best players for sure."