The City right-back does not believe his Argentine tem-mate has been affected by recent off-field problems, and expects him to display “great passion” against his old club
Tevez faces a court date on Wednesday morning for driving offences, and could even be handed a six-month jail sentence - though community service is a more likely outcome.
But Zabaleta says the striker has been motivated since the incident, and is fully focused on facing his former side on April 8 at Old Trafford.
"It doesn't seem to bother him," Zabaleta told The Sun. "Roberto Mancini said last time he hopes the police will stop him again because it looks like it is a great motivation for him.
"It was just a small mistake by Carlos. He knows now he has to be calm otherwise he is going to be in trouble. Now he has got some friend to bring him to [their training ground] Carrington every day."
The 29-year-old left Old Trafford for their neighbours almost four years ago, and Zabaleta says that it is still a "special" occasion for the striker.
"Every time we play against United it is a particularly special game for Carlos," the Argentine full-back added.
"He has always done well against them. He was a United player once and I've seen him play with great passion against United.
"It will be a special day for Carlos and a special day for the team."